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Tuesday, February 16, 1999 Published at 15:19 GMT


World: Africa

Kenya expels Greek diplomat



The Kenyan Government has ordered the expulsion of the Greek ambassador in the fall-out of the Ocalan affair, saying he had sheltered the Kurdish rebel leader without its knowledge.

The Ocalan File
Kenyan Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana said that when his government got wind that Mr Ocalan was at the residence of ambassador George Kostoulas, the envoy vehemently denied it.

According to the Kenyan government, it was only when faced with concrete evidence that the Greek representative consulted with Athens and agreed to the removal of Mr Ocalan from the country.


Kenyan Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana: We are puzzled as to why Kenya was chosen as a destination
Mr Godana told a news conference that Kenya had asked the Greek government for the immediate recall of the ambassador.

"It is no longer possible to trust the ambassador as serious doubts about his credibility have been created," he said.

The presence of Mr Ocalan in the country raised serious security concerns, he said.

"We would not have expected a friendly country like Greece to subject Kenya to such an awkward situation giving rise to suspicion and possible attack."

Contradicting the official Greek Government line, he stated that the rebel leader had left for "a destination known to the Greek authorities.

"We would like to assure everybody, Kurds included, that we had no role in this affair," he said. He added that Kenya had had no contact with Turkey over the affair.

Ocalan's 13 days in Kenya

The Kurdish rebel leader had arrived in Kenya from Milan, Italy, on 2 February aboard a private jet, along with four other people, all travelling under assumed names, the minister said.

Clearance for the arrival of the plane had been sought by the Greek embassy, the minister added, and the ambassador, George Costorlas, had briefly boarded the aircraft, then left it along with the passengers without going through any formalities.

The foreign minister added: "We are puzzled as to why Kenya was chosen as a destination for Ocalan.

"It is possible that the Greek authorities may have taken advantage of the strong friendly relations existing between our two countries, which raises serious questions about their sincerity and trustworthiness."





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