NEWS

Visiting US senators thank PM

Seven US senators visited Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at Maximos Mansion yesterday for a briefing on a missile attack on the US Embassy in Athens earlier this month and thanked him for the government’s immediate response. «When we are attacked, we feel that Greece is attacked,» said Sen. Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon, after talks with Karamanlis and US Ambassador Charles Ries. The January 12 embassy attack, which was claimed last week by the far-left group Revolutionary Struggle, caused no injuries and minimal damage. But both Greek and US officials described it as a «serious attack.» The senators also discussed the Cyprus problem, upheaval in Afghanistan – where a small Greek contingent is still mobilized – and developments in the Balkans. «We have historic ties. We rely on Greece for advice and help (in the Balkans),» Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, was cited by Associated Press as saying. The role of Greece in the Balkans was also the focus of talks yesterday between Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Development in Europe (OSCE) Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. During the talks in Athens, Bakoyannis said Greece would like to undertake the organization’s presidency. De Brichambaut did not respond explicitly to the overture but remarked on Greece’s «significant contribution to collective efforts to ensure security (in the Balkans).» He added that the organization is «particularly interested in the Balkans» and emphasized its efforts to boost stability in Kosovo. Bakoyannis also had talks yesterday with Greek ambassadors from Balkan countries.