Washington talks target 2004 security

WASHINGTON – Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis, heading a senior delegation of Greek security officials, was to discuss Olympic security in talks in Washington last night. Floridis is being accompanied by police chief Lt. Gen. Fotis Nasiakos, National Intelligence Agency chief Pavlos Apostolopoulos and others. They met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at the White House and were to meet also with FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General John Ashcroft at the Department of Justice and CIA Director George Tenet. [«Dr Rice mentioned that she appreciates the ongoing efforts for security in Greece and she is absolutely sure that everything will go as planned, security-wise, during the Olympics,» Floridis said afterwards.] The visit is to end today. Talks were to include the issue of help that the United States can contribute in terms of special equipment and expert personnel. The Americans have expressed interest in providing the necessary help, and the Greeks have completed a catalog of what they might need. One of the central issues of the talks was to be the major exercise, under real conditions, to be carried out in March, in which US forces are to take part. «The exercise will go ahead as planned. We are now at the planning stage and it is going very well,» Floridis said. He added that the Greek government was looking at all angles of the issue in case there was a constitutional problem with the presence of foreign troops on Greek soil. He said that the possibility of the exercise being held under the umbrella of NATO was being examined, as both Greece and the United States are members of the alliance. Officials are also looking into whether bilateral agreements between Greece and the United States are sufficient. If these two solutions are not possible, then the government will introduce the necessary legislation. Regarding domestic terrorism, Floridis and Nasiakos repeated that this has been eliminated operationally but some evidence is still being evaluated and could lead to people who played a secondary role.

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