© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
16 January, 2002
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) on Tuesday ratified the government's decision to send a 130-member company of engineering and security troops to war-ravaged Afghanistan, paving the way for the dispatch of the contingent in late January or early February.
During a meeting chaired by premier Costas Simitis, the KYSEA ratified the government's decision to send the Greek contingent -- fully comprised of volunteers -- to the international peacekeeping force taking shape in Afghanistan.
National defense minister Yannos Papantoniou said after the KYSEA meeting that the situation in Afghanistan had "stabilized to a degree, but great caution is still required'.
He explained that the Greek soldiers were not going to Afghanistan to fight, but to "help in that country's reconstruction."
The contingent would be involved in the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan and the reconstruction of roads, bridges and other infrastructures damaged by the bombings.
Papantoniou reiterated that participation in the contingent was on a completely voluntary basis, adding that the number of volunteers that came forward far exceeded the 130 positions in the mission.
He said the Greek contingent would depart for Afghanistan in the next 2-3 weeks, and the details would be arranged with the British command of the multinational force to be deployed in that country.
Greece will further send two C-130 transport planes for the for the transport of materials and foods, the minister said.
Source: Athens News Agency