NEWS

New Olympic drill in June

Greek security forces are to conduct a major exercise in June ahead of the August Olympics, Defense Ministry sources said yesterday. The sources, quoted by the Athens News Agency, said the drill – described as the largest ever held on Olympic security – would involve only Greek personnel from all the security forces. Last month, some 1,500 Greek troops, together with police, coast guard and fire brigade officers, joined in a major two-week Olympic security exercise along with 400 US military special forces. In Parliament yesterday, Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos said Greece would not be required to defray the costs of NATO forces on duty in and around the country during the Games. «The cost of this assistance will only be borne by NATO,» he said. Yesterday, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis met with Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and the heads of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the police and the coast guard to discuss the master plan for Olympic security. Sources said the agenda included proposals for a further increase in the number of military personnel assigned to guard duty during the August 13-29 Games, security measures at harbors and the quartering of thousands of police and military personnel from all over the country who will be stationed in Athens and the other four Olympic cities – Thessaloniki, Volos, Patras and Iraklion – for the Olympics. All members of the security forces are to be granted a special, 2,500-euro bonus as reward for their extra work during the Games. Yesterday, Greece’s top prosecutor instructed prosecutors’ offices in the five Olympic cities to ensure that enough prosecutors are at hand between July 20 and September 14.