NEWS

Greeks firm in war on global terrorism

Leading members of the political world, both from the government and the opposition, over the weekend stressed Greece’s commitment to support the United States in the war against international terrorism and to act in concert with the European Union and NATO, both of which Greece is a member. Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos spoke of the need for a global, united front against terrorism. Terrorism too has found its global expression, he said yesterday on a visit to military bases on Crete. That is why we need unity on an international level of all those who believe in the principles of freedom and the value of human lives. There is a common interest in this, he said. Regarding the possibility of terror groups retaliating against the campaign against them, Tsochadzopoulos said, This threat is a threat to all the nations taking part in this broad alliance. We will work within the framework agreed on with the European countries, in the framework of our alliances. So whatever threats come from the side of the terrorists will be dealt with. By our country too. In what specific ways is an issue that will be decided in future, he said. Dora Bakoyianni, the opposition New Democracy party’s shadow minister for defense and foreign policy, stressed the need for Greece to be a leading member of the international alliance against terrorism. International terrorism strikes not only against civilization. It strikes at the principles that support open, democratic societies, she told a party meeting on Crete last night. It threatens our way of life, it threatens the security of the whole world. Greece has a duty to join in the fight together with the whole international community, Bakoyianni said. For us there is no middle of the road. There are no ‘yes, buts.’ For New Democracy Greece must be on the front line of the battle to achieve security and the well being of modern societies, she said. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his first comments on Athens’s position regarding the war on terrorism, said on Friday night that Greece, as a NATO ally and a friend of freedom, has an important role to play in the effort against international terrorism. Speaking at the swearing-in of Tom Miller as the US ambassador in Greece, Powell said that the ambassador would seek to increase cooperation between the two countries against terrorism in all forms it takes. I would like to thank the Greek government for its condolences toward the United States for the tragic events of September 11 and the offer of help from the Greek people, Powell said. He also expressed concern for the Greek citizens who are still missing. It is believed that between 30 and 50 Greeks and Greek Americans were lost in the terror attacks. Powell praised the great contribution to our country of the three million Greek Americans who represent the deep and warm ties that unite our two nations. Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to brief the leaders of the small Liberals, Democratic Social Movement and Political Spring parties today, ending his round of meetings with political party leaders. The Communist Party reiterated over the weekend that it was opposed to Greece’s participation in the anti-terror alliance, saying it would undertake initiatives to prevent this. Meanwhile, reports emerged in the international media over the weekend that some fans of the AEK soccer team tried to burn an American flag and jeered during the minute’s silence held in honor of the terror victims during an UEFA Cup match in Athens on Thursday. Coach Alex McLeish of Scottish side Hibernian told an Edinburgh paper on Saturday that What badly disappointed me was that there was no effort made by anyone, the police included, to do anything about it. Explosive device. A powerful bomb planted under a car in Aghia Fyla, near Limassol, Cyprus on Saturday failed to explode. The BMW’s owner, Yiannos Christofis, who works for the stock market company Market Trends, saw the device under one of the back wheels of the car. Police believe the bomb was placed by a dissatisfied customer.