Olympic obligations remarks surprise IOC

Responding to the surprise voiced yesterday by a senior International Olympic Committee official at the claim that Greece does not have to build roads and media accommodation for the 2004 Games, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his remarks had been quoted out of context. «It would have been preferable if Mr (Denis) Oswald had been advised of the full text of my long press conference (on Tuesday), for only through that context can my remarks be fully understood,» he said. «I fully agree with the spirit of his statements.» Oswald, IOC coordination commission chairman for Athens 2004, told The Associated Press that the IOC «was a little bit surprised by the position (Venizelos) expressed.» He pointed out that Greece was awarded the Games «based on a number of commitments (Athens) made in the bid process.» On Tuesday, Venizelos said Greece was obliged to «facilitate traffic» for 2004, not build roads – or a media village. But he said the government would do its best.