NEWS

Olympics: No specific threat

Public Order Minister Giorgos Floridis, in Washington for two days of talks with top US officials on Olympic security, said yesterday there was no intelligence, so far, of terrorist conspiracies targeting the Athens Games. Meanwhile, a report said European counterterrorism experts have raised fears of anarchist attacks during the August 13-26 Olympics. «There is no information so far that any attacks are being planned,» Floridis told a press conference. «My sense is that the Americans are satisfied with the hard work we are putting into this, as well as the high level of expertise.» Greece is spending an unprecedented 650 million euros on security for the two-week Games. Floridis arrived in the USA on Thursday, accompanied by Police Chief Fotis Nassiakos and National Intelligence Agency chief Pavlos Apostolopoulos. He met with Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, and Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, while later yesterday he was scheduled to see Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. On Thursday, he said Rice «is absolutely sure everything will go as planned, security-wise, during the Olympics.» He added that a planned joint Olympic security exercise involving US troops, to be held on Greek soil in March, would go ahead. According to an Athens News Agency report from Rome yesterday, the head of Greece’s counterterrorism unit, Stelios Syros, told Italy’s Reppublica newspaper that his colleagues from another six EU states warned anarchist groups might pose a security risk during the Olympics. Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium have pooled their resources to address anarchist threats following a series of anarchist letter-bomb attacks on EU officials over the Christmas and New Year holidays.