NEWS

Ministry: No foreign sea patrols

The Defense Ministry on Saturday denied a report that the Turkish and Italian navies will be patrolling the Aegean and the Ionian during the August Olympics as part of an international operation to ensure security at the Games. «The reference to patrols by the Italian and Turkish navies bears no relation whatsoever to reality,» a ministry statement said of the article in Friday’s Financial Times, which was based on an interview with Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou. «There was no such reference in the interview… and [the report] was clearly a personal estimation by the interviewer – as she herself has conceded,» the statement said. «Greece rules out any patrols by foreign forces within its borders.» The article had also quoted Papantoniou as saying that there is an understanding that NATO will be «on standby for any kind of emergency,» with an alliance rapid reaction force on standby outside Greece. Furthermore, it said, ships from the US Sixth Fleet will «cruise within easy reach of Athens.» Athens has still to make a formal request for NATO aid.