NEWS

Papandreou supports action against Libya

Prime Minister George Papandreou expressed support for military action against Libyan forces over the weekend, after Colonel Muammar Gadhafi?s regime failed to honor its promise to implement a ceasefire, as Greek defense officials said NATO forces could have access to bases in Souda on Crete and Aktio, northwest Greece.

Addressing a conference of Socialist International members at the Acropolis Museum late on Saturday night following a lightning visit to Paris where he met European, US and Arab leaders, Papandreou said the international community had been obliged to enforce a United Nations resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

?The message of the international community is clear… there is no way we will tolerate the murder of innocent civilians,? said Papandreou, who is president of Socialist International. ?Unfortunately, the assurances of the regime in Libya that… a ceasefire will be implemented has been belied by acts of violence,? stated Papandreou, whose father Andreas, the founder of Socialist PASOK, had close ties with Gadhafi.

As US and British vessels fired missiles at Libyan targets and French fighter jets patrolled the country?s air space, Greece said it would allow NATO forces to use its bases in Souda and Aktio if necessary and would offer four F-16s to help patrol the no-fly zone as well as a frigate and two search and rescue helicopters.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied peacefully outside a US base at Akrotiri on Crete on Sunday, protesting Greek involvement in the Libya offensive.

Meanwhile left-wing opposition parties launched scathing criticism against Papandreou?s government.

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), spoke of ?a new threat in our neighborhood wher – on the pretext of Gadhafi?s barbarism – NATO is setting up dangerous war games.?

The head of the Communist Party (KKE), Aleka Papariga, slammed the government for ?supporting and participating in the slaughter and dismemberment of Libya.?