NEWS

In Brief

SIMITIS

PM defends foreign policy, threatens veto on Euroforce Addressing socialist PASOK MPs yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis rejected opposition criticism of his handling of foreign policy issues and said he would not hesitate to veto European Union decisions if Greece’s partners insist on adopting Turkish positions on the conditions under which the union’s fledgling army can use NATO installations in Turkey. He also called for «care, decisiveness and calm» over the next few months in the face of possible aggressive behavior by Ankara. Turning to domestic issues, he dismissed the prospect of a leadership change in his party after the October municipal and regional elections. CLERIDES VISIT Cypriot president meets Simitis, Stephanopoulos Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides arrived in Athens yesterday for consultations with the Greek government in view of the ongoing, fruitless peace talks on Cyprus and the island’s course towards EU accession. Clerides met President Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis, with whom he is understood to have discussed what both Athens and Nicosia consider the unlikely prospect of a military provocation by Turkey in the event of Cyprus joining the EU without the problem of its partition being solved beforehand. Today, Clerides will see Greek opposition leaders. HEROIN HAUL Over 12 kilos found at border Just over 12 kilos of heroin confiscated from the car of two Albanian nationals who were stopped at the Kakavia border crossing yesterday is the biggest haul this year and had been destined for distribution in Athens, police said yesterday. Officers had been tipped off by customs officials and were expecting Eduard Hakskai, 21, and Faik Banai, 39, who were carrying the drug in 25 packages hidden in the petrol tank of their car. Earlier this month, Thessaloniki police seized 10 kilos of heroin from the car of two Albanians. Police at rallies Plainclothes police officers will no longer attend public demonstrations, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis told MPs, jurists and trade unionists at a meeting on Tuesday, the Eleftherotypia daily reported yesterday. The decision follows last week’s protest in Parliament by Communist Party Chief Aleka Papariga against the presence of undercover police at a May Day rally. The role of undercover officers was to protect demonstrators from rioters, the minister said. He denied that the state uses surveillance cameras during trade union rallies – another of Papariga’s charges. No school The Council of State has forbidden the government from building a school on a site in the suthern Athens municipality of Ilioupolis which is due to be reforested, court sources said yesterday. The site at Diana, Aghia Marina, is based on 9.2 hectares of former forest land on the slopes of Mount Pendeli and is therefore protected land, the court ruled. Fugitive caught A man who escaped custody at Markopoulo police station, eastern Attica, using a car parked outside the station, yesterday faced prosecution on the same charges as his companion, who had fled the station with him but had been arrested a few hours later. Police caught up with Ioannis Gatzounas, 24, on Tuesday in the prefecture of Elis in the western Peloponnese. Linda Rofati, 20, was sentenced to eight months in jail on Monday. The pair had been due to face a prosecutor after stealing a bag from a car on Saturday. Spy trial An Australian court yesterday suspended the trial of a Greek-Australian charged with stealing confidential state documents and giving them to a prostitute to sell to other governments after the defendant’s lawyer stepped down for unspecified «moral reasons.» Simon Lappas, 26, a former intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Organization, has said he gave the documents to Sherryl Ellen Dowling, also 26, to help her start a new life. He has been remanded in custody until a new lawyer takes up his case. Firebombs Two homemade explosive devices planted in front of a PASOK local office in central Thessaloniki by unidentified assailants early yesterday morning caused slight damage but no injuries.