NEWS

US prepared to act unilaterally

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense indicated on Wednesday that US troops might intervene unilaterally if Americans were at risk during the Athens Olympics. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis declared that security of the Games was Greece’s responsibility and the Communist Party voiced outrage at the «unprecedented provocation.» Responding to a question during a briefing, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said: «Let’s be very clear. You know, terrorists have indicated that they wish to disrupt any number of activities around the world. I’m not prepared to speak [of] specific intelligence regarding the Greek Olympics, but I know that the Greek government takes seriously its responsibilities in an international environment such as they’re facing.» Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, deputy director for operations, added: «Right now, NATO is coordinating with the government of Greece on how they’re going to do that, and the US is supporting NATO as the coordinations go on. But there have not been a lot of specific agreements and specific force contributions at this point in time because the negotiations are still going on between NATO and the government of Greece.» Asked if it remained US policy to act unilaterally, Di Rita said: «Well, we’ll always act to defend our national interests and to defend US citizens around the world.» Kathimerini reported last Saturday that under the deal with NATO, some 300-500 armed US anti-terrorist troops will be stationed near Athens during the Games. Voulgarakis commented, saying, «It is absolutely clear to all that the Greek authorities have sole responsibility for the Olympic Games’ security and have been working on this systematically.»