NEWS

Prospect for Nov17 arrests played down

After a weekend in which the Greek news media were filled with reports of November 17’s impending demise, government and security officials sought yesterday to play down expectations that Greece’s terrorist suspects would be arrested soon. PM Costas Simitis met with aides and repeated that he is optimistic that the systematic and serious way in which the investigation is being conducted will lead to results. But he added, «We do not need great declarations but to show results.» Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that a responsible government could not announce arrests in advance. «Our optimism over the stamping out of the terrorists stems only from the systematic and methodical way in which we are working,» he said. The talk about terrorism was also the focus of a meeting of the opposition New Democracy party’s «Political Analysis» committee. Participants concluded that the stories did not contribute to the elimination of terrorism. New Democracy noted also that various stories regarding the issue disoriented the public from the country’s major problems. The party also condemned as «suspicious and irresponsible» a purported list of ruling PASOK party officials ostensibly involved with terrorism. The list was published by the pro-PASOK Karfi newspaper on Sunday. The paper claimed that the «document of shame» was drawn up in 1988 by a group of people who were aides of Constantine Mitsotakis, a New Democracy party leader who was prime minister from 1990 to 1993. Mitsotakis denied this. Among the 124 people named were the late PASOK founder and prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, and former ministers Kimon Koulouris, Thanassis Tsouras and Sifis Valyrakis as well as a former National Intelligence Service chief, Costas Tsimas. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas and New Democracy condemned the purported document. «For anyone to try to tangle PASOK cadres in this… story of terrorism is a wretched and base act,» Protopapas said. Most PASOK officials yesterday seemed to consider the list’s publication as beneficial as it showed the «ridiculous» nature of the claims of lists of suspects. Others thought it could cause serious problems, by implying that the investigations were fruitless.