02 October, 2003
WASHINGTON, 02/10/2003 (ANA)
Security for the upcoming 2004 Olympics in Athens and the fight against terrorism were two issues touched on by the US State Department spokesman on Tuesday during his daily press briefing here, with the spokesman saying the US side is “working very well, very closely, with the Greek government so far.”
“We think the Greeks have the will and the resources to hold a secure and successful Olympics and we have every confidence that they will,” spokesman Richard Boucher stressed.
The press questions referring to Greece were linked with a recent, mostly negative, front-page article in the “Washington Post” about security for the 2004 Olympics.
Asked about cooperation with Athens over 2004 security, Boucher added:
“... As you know, the Greek government's planning and preparations for Olympic security are already well underway. Greece is working with several countries, including the United States, to ensure the full safety of the Olympic Games. Almost a year in advance of the event now, the Greeks are assessing their situation, identifying needs and devoting resources to achieving a secure and successful Olympics. Exercises to highlight potential problems are undertaken with a view to solving the issues by the day the Games open, which is August 13th of next year.”
Boucher said Washington is offering advice and resources to Greece in order to ensure Olympic security, while noting that the Bush administration’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, Amb. Cofer Black, is currently in Greece for that specific purpose.
Moreover, he noted that Olympic security cooperation was discussed during a recent meeting between Powell and Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou.
Question about ‘N17: In yet another reference to the same “Washington Post” article and statements about whether or not the notorious “November 17” urban terror band has been thoroughly eradicated by Greek authorities, Boucher said:
“I think I'd really refer you to the terrorism report for the exact detailed position. We have certainly welcomed the steps that Greece has taken against terrorism, particularly against November 17th. At the same time, our cooperation with Greece, our vigilance with Greece on all matters of terrorism must continue".
“I don't know what the exact status of that particular organization is considered, but obviously issues of terrorism in Greece haven't gone away completely and it's something we continue to work with the Greek government about,” he concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency