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UK minister: N17 killers will be caught

British Minister for Defense Procurement Lord Bach, on a brief visit to Athens last week, said in an interview with Kathimerini, that he was optimistic that the perpetrators of the 1999 murder of Brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens would soon be brought to justice. The minister expressed his full satisfaction with the Greek police’s efforts to find the November 17 terrorist group. We have a particular interest in this because of the cold-blooded murder of Saunders, our defense attache. What I can tell you is that the work being done by the Greek police, with the assistance of Scotland Yard, is going very well. In fact, I believe that we will soon see some progress. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Greek government on adopting such a strong position against this murder. I hope that the perpetrators will soon be brought to justice, he said. European army In December, the European Council of Ministers will take decisions on a European army, to which Turkey is continuing to raise obstacles. Britain has undertaken initiatives to try and bridge the differences. Lord Bach said the goal was to to give NATO and Europe in general a greater ability to intervene. The position of the British government, and that of your own government, is that under no circumstances should there be a lessening of the importance of NATO, which is the touchstone of our political security and defense policy. Of course, Turkey, just like Britain and Greece, is an important member of NATO. I am convinced that any problems will be resolved. The important thing, however, is to enhance Europe’s defense capability, particularly after September 11. Defeat of Al Qaeda On Afghanistan, Lord Bach believes that the war against terrorism should continue until Osama bin Laden is arrested, no matter what the cost. Asked for his view of what the next step in Afghanistan should be, he expressed the hope that there would be progress in removing the Taleban and above all that bin Laden and his associates would be found. In my opinion, the sooner Afghanistan acquires the appropriate government and humanitarian aid is brought into that unfortunate country, the better, he said. Lord Bach said the war was being waged on many fronts – military, political and diplomatic, apart from the question of humanitarian aid. The defeat of Al Qaeda and all those, such as the Taleban, who support it, is absolutely the top priority. And it doesn’t depend on anything else. It is a necessity after the (events of) September 11, he said.This article was compiled from a Greek translation of Lord Bach’s statements. There is the impression that Cyprus is the biggest obstacle in the enlargement process. Do you agree?