NEWS

‘No security revision’

Security planning for the Athens 2004 Olympics will not be changed following last week’s terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis, who is in charge of security, said yesterday. He was responding to reports that the Games’ security was under review. «There is not going to be any revision of the security planning for the 2004 Olympic Games, as some Sunday newspapers report,» Floridis told ET3 state television yesterday. This did not rule out the possibility of an emergency meeting among Greek officials and the representatives of the seven countries who have contributed experts to a security advisory committee. The daily Ethnos reported yesterday that a high level anti-terrorism expert from Scotland Yard, David Veness, would be among those gathering in Athens for an emergency meeting in the next few days. Ethnos said also that some countries, led by the United States, were demanding that the Games security be placed under a NATO and US umbrella. Quoting unnamed sources, it said that by the summer «thousands» of FBI and CIA agents will have come to Greece and that there were already 200 agents here. Greek officials have budgeted an unprecedented 650 million euros for the Games and, though cooperating with other countries with more experience at dealing with terrorism, are keen to appear in control. «The Greek authorities and not foreign secret agents have exclusive responsibility for the security of the Olympic Games,» Floridis said. He repeated that national sports delegations will not be allowed to have armed security teams with them, saying, «If this were allowed, there would be a slaughter.» Floridis had said several weeks ago when the question was raised that if any foreign agents unknown to the Greeks were spotted with weapons during the Games this could set off a bloodbath. On another issue that has been raised following the terrorist attacks in Turkey, which borders on Greece, Floridis said that of the immigrants and illegal immigrants in Greece, there are no indications that anyone has any connection with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who supervises Olympic preparations, said: «Olympic security is an international problem… That is why to a very great extent we are preparing security for the Olympics not as a domestic, Greek problem, but as one of international cooperation.»