Shadows over Simitis’s US visit

Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves today for an official visit to the United States, at a time of concern in Athens over the recent decision by US authorities to drop the maritime border between Greece and Turkey on maps of the eastern Aegean and the latest charges by US news media that Greek officials are soft on terrorism. Simitis’s talks with President George W. Bush on Thursday will cover the EU’s defense force, Greek-Turkish relations, terrorism, and Cyprus. Press Minister Christos Protopappas criticized the CBS network’s 60 Minutes report on the November 17 terrorist organization, in which it asked whether Greece was capable of hosting the 2004 Olympics. Protopappas said «there are serious questions regarding the aims of the report.» Foreign Minister George Papandreou ordered Greece’s ambassador in Washington to protest to CBS over the fact that it used no part of an interview in which Papandreou refuted allegations that members of the ruling PASOK party had ties with terrorists. Kaklamanis said that segments of an interview had been isolated to damage him and to support «the unacceptable, disgusting and libelous claims which were made by the well-known anti-Greek propagandists, (former US ambassador) Thomas Niles and (diplomat) Wayne Merry, that Mr Kaklamanis is well-disposed to November 17.»

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