NEWS

War games postponed

Greece and Cyprus yesterday decided to postpone the annual joint Greek and Cypriot Nikiforos/Toxotis military exercises in which Greek air force and naval units take part in war games near Cyprus. The decision, which came after Athens said that it would not accede to a US request on September 25 to suspend the exercise, was taken because of the new factors created by the commencement of military operations against international terrorism as well as the two countries’ commitments to provide facilities to the states conducting the operations. The Nikiforos exercise, which involves the National Guard on Cyprus, will be carried out as scheduled while Toxotis will take place at an undetermined date. It was originally scheduled to start on October 17. Meanwhile, an opinion poll conducted on Monday (October 8), found that 51.2 percent of the 600 Athenians polled by MWG Alco for the Eleftheros Typos daily feared a terrorist attack on Greece (as opposed to 42.8 percent who did not). Only 26.4 percent found the US attack on Afghanistan justified, as opposed to 57.3 percent who did not, and only 7.4 percent thought that the onslaught would bear fruit while 83.9 percent said they expected further violence and terrorist strikes. Furthermore, 57.2 percent saw the attacks as unilateral US action while 31.0 percent regarded them as the work of the united international community. Only 29 percent agreed with the action while 61.2 percent did not. Adding to this sense of wariness, about 4,000 people, mostly members of the small Communist Party, staged a second march in as many days to the US Embassy in Athens last night, chanting slogans opposed to Greek involvement in the campaign against terrorism and accusing the USA of trying to impose a new imperialist order. They dispersed peacefully after reaching the heavily-guarded embassy. The government, however, repeated that it stood firm beside the United States. We all want peace, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. But it is important that we deal with a terrorist attack that took place a month ago as something that is a provocation to the whole of humanity and our civilization. There must be an effective response, he added. Reppas also said that there was no indication that Greece would be a terrorist target. The main opposition New Democracy party too is firm in its support of the American campaign. Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios at the Phanar in Istanbul today to brief him on a meeting of all religious leaders being organized under the auspices of the EU. Papandreou is to visit Syria on Sunday for talks on the international alliance against terrorism. Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece also announced a conference bringing together Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders to discuss terrorism. Truck hits house, killing two