NEWS

World police briefed on 2004

Greek security officials yesterday briefed their colleagues from the 202 countries that will be taking part in the Athens Olympics on the security arrangements for the Games. They explained administration, operations, border controls, the role of the armed forces, air space surveillance and special planning for VIP transfers and the protection of sponsors. A Greek police source said the participants appeared satisfied and there were no objections nor demands for changes to the plans. He noted that the foreign police had made special requests in advance, mainly regarding protection of officials, and these had been considered. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told the conference that the time before the Olympics will be devoted to fine-tuning security planning. Police chief Fotis Nasiakos referred to the dogma of «total security,» saying all threats, big and small, had been considered. Athens 2004 Organizing Committee head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki blasted critics of Greece’s security preparations. «I am concerned that we send a consistent message to those who wish us ill,» she said angrily. «Telling them that there are holes in Athens security procedures and that our preparations can be circumvented when all our preparations are designed to achieve the opposite is bad security strategy,» she said. «Australia chose the middle of a successful (IOC) meeting to release a warning regarding travel to Greece,» Angelopoulos said. IOC President Jacques Rogge, at a ceremony on Athens’s Pnyx hill, praised Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and her committee. «A few days before the Olympic Games, which I have no doubt will be a great success, let me thank… ATHOC for our formidable partnership, led in such an inspiring and dynamic way by Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki,» he said.