NEWS

EU force awaits Greek yes

Athens is preparing its response, which it will deliver at the EU’s meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, to the informal British paper proposing a way in which the EU’s nascent defense force will function. Greece does not appear prepared to agree to clauses that will allow Turkey to intervene in the decision-taking procedures of the EU or which limit Greece’s sovereign rights in any way. According to reports, Ankara lifted its objections to the EU force using NATO resources after it received assurances that the force would not be used in Greek-Turkish disputes nor with regard to Cyprus or the Aegean Sea region. Prime Minister Costas Simitis discussed the issue yesterday with Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou. If we judge that the final text is in line with the basic principles of European policy and our national policy, we will have no objections, Papantoniou said. A man who faked a broken Greek accent (but who was described as having a rich vocabulary) spoke with the father 20 times, agreeing to lower an initial demand of 1 billion drachmas (about $2.6 million) to the $1.15 million in dollars. From Friday to Monday the kidnappers instructed the father to drive out with the ransom money each day, keeping in touch with mobile phones whose cards they would discard after each call in order not to be traced. On Monday they finally instructed Costas Zonas to drop off the money under a bridge.