NEWS

Diplomacy vs. terrorism

Foreign Minister George Papandreou today begins an intensive diplomatic mission that will take him from Moscow to Washington via Berlin and Brussels and will involve talks on the situation in the world following the September 11 terrorist strikes in the United States. Papandreou will be meeting with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow this morning before flying to Berlin for a meeting with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer and then to Brussels for talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, who currently heads the EU’s Council of Ministers. Tomorrow, Papandreou will meet in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, members of Congress, anti-terrorism experts and the State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Tom Weston. On Wednesday, Papandreou will go to New York where he is expected to visit the site of the destroyed World Trade Center and meet with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Papandreou’s Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, was in Washington and New York over the weekend. The newly sworn-in US ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller, told Kathimerini yesterday that Powell and Papandreou will discuss issues of mutual interest to our two countries. I won’t say anything more about this. Miller, who is due in Athens later this week, said also: Greece is our friend. The Greeks, the politicians, the mass media expressed their support for the United States with very positive statements… All of us appreciate greatly this support because you learn who your real friends are not when everything is fine but in difficult times, when things are bad. And Greece is a true friend. Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos, also in an interview with Kathimerini, said that the latest EU decisions to streamline legislation for the fight against terrorism would not affect citizens greatly and that the greatest changes would involve extradition of people wanted for criminal acts elsewhere. If anything is to change in our lives, which I think will be relatively insignificant, it would be that perhaps temporarily there will be more checks than was the case so far, he said. But this will be temporary and we must accept it, as the final aim is our own protection from criminal acts. Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, in an interview with To Vima, stressed the need to join the fight against terrorism. We must work together internationally to prevent terrorist acts and to eliminate systematically the terrorist networks, he said. He also called for a serious effort for the swift solution of international problems, such as the Middle East. -Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos is on a visit to Cyprus to attend celebrations for independence day.