NEWS

Minister assures USA on Olympics

Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis, who was in America when a triple bomb attack damaged a police station in Athens, met with several US officials and spoke with news media yesterday, assuring them that the blasts had nothing to do with the Olympics and that Greece was capable of hosting safe Games. In Athens, meanwhile, police appeared to confirm their initial suspicions that the Revolutionary Struggle group was behind the attack, as the improvised explosive devices appeared to be very similar to those used by the group in its first appearance in an attack on the Athens law courts last September. Police believe that the group comprises old hands from the heyday of extreme leftist guerrilla groups in Greece who want to show that even after the destruction of the November 17 gang the «armed struggle» continues. Officials say they have an idea who is behind the attacks but have not been able to act due to lack of evidence. Voulgarakis met with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and was also to meet with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI director Robert Mueller and CIA chief George Tenet. He also spoke on Associated Press Television, C-SPAN, CNN International and Fox News. «We discussed the great issue of Olympic security,» Voulgarakis said after his meeting with Ridge. «Mr Ridge agrees that very important steps have been taken and that Greece can indeed stage safe Olympic Games,» he added, in a statement from his ministry issued in Athens. «It was a very useful and illuminating meeting for him as well as for me.»