NEWS

Simitis calls for Olympic moderation

By the end of the year, Greece will have completed almost all preparatory work for the 2004 Games targeted so far, the government promised yesterday following an interministerial meeting on Olympics progress. At the end of 2001 – and this is the final conclusion – 97 percent of our planned objectives will have been covered, acting government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris said. Today’s meeting examined progress on works between September and November, in other words between the two inspection visits by the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission, he added. He promised that work on creating a new tram network in Athens will start by the end of the year. Hytiris said Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who chaired yesterday’s meeting, asked for moderation from everybody. Although Hytiris refused to elaborate, the PM is understood to have been referring principally to Athens 2004 organizing committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who are engaged in a power struggle over management of Greece’s preparations. The spokesman said that Simitis maintains regular correspondence with IOC coordination commission chairman Denis Oswald, in what appeared to be a further hint to Angelopoulos-Daskalaki that the government wants to keep the Games under close scrutiny. Venizelos told the meeting that five Olympic projects being undertaken by the organizing committee must be subjected to regular scrutiny and called for tabs to be kept on its spending, sources said.