Ambassador visits jailed spotters

Britain’s ambassador yesterday visited a group of British plane-spotter enthusiasts who have been in detention since their arrest on November 8 on suspicion of espionage, The Associated Press reported. A council of judges is expected to decide this week whether any of the 12 Britons (11 men and a woman) and two Dutchmen are to be charged. Meanwhile, The Observer reported yesterday that Greek authorities on Saturday called on Turkey to clarify its relationship with the group’s leader, Paul Coppin, who last week admitted he had attended an air show as a guest of the Turkish military. It is now becoming clear that this is more than a misunderstanding over an arcane hobby, Alex Rondos, adviser to Foreign Minister George Papandreou, told The Observer. If we want a swift resolution of this matter, then it falls to all those implicated to explain what their role has been. The 14, who are the subject of intense media interest in Britain and an embarrassment for the Greek government, have said they are simply tourists – something which British PM Tony Blair himself has repeated.

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