NEWS

Police to train regional forces

Greek police will use the know-how acquired in training for last year’s Athens Olympics to train security forces from other Balkan countries and the Eastern Mediterranean region, advisers to Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday. The same advisers hailed the minister’s visit to the United States as an unqualified success. Voulgarakis presented the proposal to set up the Inter-Balkan and Mediterranean Security Studies and Training Center to his US interlocutors. The proposal was received «with very positive comments,» Voulgarakis’s advisers said. The center will conduct training and seminars aimed at providing other countries’ security forces with the ability to cooperate effectively and coordinate their forces to combat organized crime and terrorism. The Americans appeared concerned about the existence of Islamic terrorist cells in the Balkans and in the possibility of introducing dangerous chemical or biological substances through commercial cargo operations. Voulgarakis and US officials also discussed trafficking in women and electronic crime. Greek officials claimed that, this time, there was no US pressure to eliminate terrorist cells in Greece. The only bilateral issue on which US officials insisted was the issuing of new, secure passports. Voulgarakis said that the new passports that would fulfill US requirements for «machine-readable and biometrically enabled» documents will be issued by early 2006.