Putin visit to Greece canceled

Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled his proposed visit to Greece today after the school hostage crisis in North Ossetia resulted in numerous deaths yesterday. Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis announced the change of plans in the Netherlands, where he was attending a meeting of the EU council of Foreign Ministers. The council condemned all forms of terrorism and extended its sympathies to the victims’ families, said Molyviatis. President Costis Stephanopoulos sent a telegram of support to his Russian counterpart early yesterday, saying terrorism had «shown its repulsive and cowardly face again.» In his own message, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis wrote: «On behalf of the Greek people, the Greek government and myself, I would sincerely like to express our sympathy and compassion for the Russian people. Please pass on our deepest condolences to the victims’ families.» Putin had been due to visit Mount Athos in northern Greece over the weekend under tight security. He was also to meet with Karamanlis.

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