NEWS

Olympic security talks

LONDON – A broad range of security issues concerning Greece and Britain were on the agenda of Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis’s first day of talks with British government and police officials in London yesterday. But Chrysochoidis, in a news conference, also took the opportunity to shoot down widely publicized rumors in Greece in recent weeks that there would soon be arrests of terrorist suspects in Greece. «These are police thrillers,» Chrysochoidis said. «We must deal with the issue on the basis of its seriousness,» he said. Asked whether the British authorities had presented the Greeks with a list of suspects, Chrysochoidis said: «The talk about a list is an insult to Greece. We are a serious and strong country. We do not accept such procedures.» He stressed that there was close and good cooperation between the Greek and British police authorities. The latter have been assisting the Greeks since the murder in June 2000 of the British defense attache in Athens, Brig. Stephen Saunders, by the November 17 terrorist group. Chrysochoidis said that working with the British was «a school for the Greek police.» He also described as «historic» the current investigation, which is covering the entire course of terrorism in Greece from its roots to today. Chrysochoidis met yesterday with Home Secretary David Blunkett and with the chief of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens. They discussed cooperation in the fight against terrorism, security for the Athens 2004 Olympics and common police issues within the context of the European Union. Chrysochoidis said the British role in security for 2004, was important: They are coordinating a committee of security experts from seven countries in preparation for the Games. In September, an exercise called «Trojan Horse» will be staged in Greece, which will deal with, among other things, a possible terrorist attack during Athens 2004. British officials yesterday showed great interest in cooperation with Greece in dealing with organized crime, including the illegal trade in narcotics, contraband cigarettes, people smuggling and illegal migration. Chrysochoidis said his contacts were especially useful and noted the need for international cooperation to deal with organized crime. Talks at Scotland Yard today will deal with training security personnel for the Olympics. Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki met yesterday with Interpol’s secretary general, Ronald Noble, to discuss security for the Games.