NEWS

Simitis in indirect criticism of USA

PM Costas Simitis spoke yesterday on the telephone with his Spanish and Italian counterparts – Jose Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi – both of whom are firmly in support of the United States in its campaign against Iraq. Simitis, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, spoke also with European Commission President Romano Prodi. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas only said the talks «were of an informative nature» and that the «EU leaders were in contact with the prime minister and president of the European Council before the critical meetings they will have in the next few days.» Aznar is to visit Arab countries. Berlusconi is to visit the USA. Simitis, in a visit to the northern city of Alexandroupolis yesterday, made a statement that appeared to direct harsh criticism at the United States. «The current time is a very difficult one for peace. And it is a very difficult time for peace because – although everyone talks about peace and everyone says they are fighting for it – interests, the pursuit of dominance, the pursuit to control the world are always there. And at this moment, they are particularly lively,» Simitis said. «The European Union, unfortunately, has no institutional power to take such decisions to ‘push’ in some direction. What it can do is to create convictions, to create a climate, to make known the need that we all be careful to avoid war,» he added. «We will continue in this direction.»