NEWS

Ship, planes troops for war on terror

The government yesterday decided to strengthen Greece’s role in the war against international terrorism and to increase its presence in the Balkans. The Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA) decided to provide a Greek frigate to a NATO flotilla that may be called on to strengthen the US naval presence in the Arabian Sea. At the same time, Greece is soon to dispatch a mechanized infantry battalion of about 300 men to join another 1,500 Greek troops already in Kosovo, in order to fill in for US and Arab troops who have been deployed closer to the theater of operations in Afghanistan. The Greek government has ruled out any possibility of sending Greek forces to the combat zone of Afghanistan, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after the meeting. Sources, however, said that the Foreign Ministry believes that the possibility of sending Greek troops should be explored. The council decided on a series of other measures to aid the military and humanitarian effort in Afghanistan. Among these, it will provide two C-130 military transport planes to convey humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and nearby areas. Athens wants the planes to use airports in neighboring countries and not those in Afghanistan.