NEWS

Aegean inspection role for US?

The US government has asked Greece to grant American warships wide-ranging stop and search powers over vessels sailing in Greek territorial waters, as part of Washington’s efforts to fight international terrorism, Athens confirmed yesterday. This followed a report in yesterday’s Eleftherotypia newspaper that the request, which was made in March but kept a closely guarded secret, would allow US naval units to stop any ship they choose to within Greek waters, provided American officials consider that it poses a «security threat.» Such operations would not require individual authorization from Athens, Eleftherotypia said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said Greece «is still considering the US request in relation to the country’s internal constitutional order, the exercise of our sovereign rights and respect for international law.» He said other countries have received such requests. The report said US authorities are especially interested in freighters carrying containers, which they believe terrorists could use to smuggle weapons of mass destruction.