Palestinian Protestors Hurl Eggs at Greek President

Published May 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Palestinians hurled eggs at Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos when he made a private visit to east Jerusalem Wednesday, witnesses were quoted by AFP as saying.  

Several dozen youths staged a protest as Stephanopoulos was near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre although it was unclear if the president was hit by the eggs, AFP added. 

However, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, he received a red carpet welcome and military honor guard reception for his meeting with Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. 

Palestinian officials said that international cooperation minister Nabil Shaath has sent Wednesday a protest letter to the Greek foreign ministry, while the top PLO official for Jerusalem, Faisal Husseini, met the Greek consul-general Petros Panayatopoulos. 

Palestinians protested Tuesday to Greece because Stephanopoulos would not meet Palestinian officials in east Jerusalem during his visit to Israel, said Reuters Tuesday. 

"Because the government wants to maintain the good level of relations it will respond with the necessary sensitivity to this protest," Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was quoted by Reuters as saying.  

"We were annoyed with the sharpness of the protest, which does not reflect the level of our relations," the Greek official told Reuters 

The dispute has led to Stephanopoulos cutting short by one day his landmark visit to Israeli and the Palestinian territories, already overshadowed by days of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Reppas said Athens did not want to interfere in questions which were subject to the ongoing dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians, and denied there had been any worsening in the "very good relations" Greece had with the Palestinians. 

Israeli radio quoted Stephanopoulos as saying Tuesday that Greece had no intentions of getting caught up in Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem, one of the most contentious issues standing in the way of a peace deal, added AFP – (Several Sources) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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