NEWS

Greeks outraged at carnage in US

Greek officials reacted with horror to the carnage that struck the United States yesterday, expressing solidarity with the American government and people. Senior ministers said that a new era had dawned and that the utmost effort had to be made to combat terrorism while not losing the values of an open, democratic society. The government canceled many of its activities and an emergency Cabinet meeting has been called for this morning. The Athens Stock Exchange, however, was likely to open today, like other European exchanges. President Costis Stephanopoulos sent a message of condolences to his American counterpart, George W. Bush, expressing the strongest possible condemnation of the terrorist attacks. Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in a message to Bush that he was deeply shocked. He expressed the condolences of the Greek government and people. Many Greeks also called the US Embassy to express their outrage, an embassy statement said. Without question, this event is very important, said government spokesman Dimitris Reppas. It may spectacularly affect developments on the international stage… At a political, economic and institutional level, he added. That is why we must study the evidence from this terrorist attack, reach our conclusions and, in cooperation with the international community, take decisions that will be useful, appropriate and effective in dealing with this international problem. The leader of Greece’s conservative New Democracy opposition party, Costas Karamanlis, who was on a visit to Boston, said that the attacks provoked horror and exasperation and sent a message of condolences to Bush. Foreign Minister George Papandreou addressed Parliament, where, he said, condemnation of the terrorist attacks was unanimous. The political consequences will be wide-ranging, he told a news conference afterward. There will be much deliberation on the issue of the security of states and citizens, Papandreou said. This deliberation must guarantee the open democratic functioning of our societies, he stressed. Papandreou said that the reaction to terrorism had to be cool-headed to deal with the problem. No country can consider itself safe, he said. Both he and Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos sent messages of condolences and solidarity to their US counterparts. Tsochadzopoulos said that the full effects of the terrorist actions had not been felt yet in their entirety and would become clearer in the coming days. He said the threat showed that the only way to deal with the problem is none other than to coordinate at the level of NATO and the European Union and with the international community as a whole. All the Greek opposition parties condemned the terrorist acts and the loss of life in the United States. But Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga declared that such incidents were not surprising especially after the victory of the counterrevolution in Eastern Europe. She predicted the full-frontal attack by the imperialist forces on the popular awakening in many parts of the planet. Greece on security alert Security forces in Greece sprang into action as soon as news of the wave of terrorist attacks in the United States broke. Police chief Fotis Nasiakos chaired a meeting at police headquarters attended by all authorities involved in security, and it was decided to put the police on a state of heightened alert and to take all the necessary measures to protect foreign interests in Greece, especially those considered terrorist targets. There was intense activity at the US Embassy, where the building and cars parked near it were inspected. The embassy was not evacuated, despite an initial notion to do so. A strong police force assembled outside, including many members of the anti-terrorism squad. The Greek authorities have promised us their full support, said Lila Margiou. We are happy with the support of the Greek authorities. In Piraeus, a concert on the US cruise ship Millennium was canceled and the ship hastened its departure. Sources said American cruise ships had been instructed to sail to ports near US bases. At the US naval base at Souda Bay, Crete, officials reviewed security measures to see any areas for improvement, spokesman Paul Farley told Kathimerini’s English Edition. Security was also stepped up at Athens airport. A Saudi Arabian plane heading from Rome to Jeddah and Riyadh was diverted to Athens because of a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax. Mother freed. An Albanian woman whose baby was found to have died of asphyxiation last Thursday has been released on bail. The coroner found that the baby died of asphyxiation caused by falling into a toilet right after it was born. Maria Aliko, 30, who has two other children, claimed that it was an accident.