07 May, 2004
WASHINGTON 7/5/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)
Greece's public order minister expressed satisfaction Wednesday after his meeting with US Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge.
''We had a very interesting meeting with Secretary Ridge and discussed matters of common interest, as his Department is essentially the counterpart of the Greek Public Order ministry and is making a big effort to incorporate actions taking place throughout the US. It was a very useful and enlightening meeting for both of us,'' Voulgarakis said.
''We discussed the major issue of Olympic Games security, which is of great importance to us as a country, and I am in the pleasant position of saying that Mr. Ridge agrees that very significant steps have been made and that Greece can indeed host secure Olympic Games,'' Voulgarakis said.
He said that they had also reviewed bilateral cooperation on other issues as well. ''I think there is a very correct basis of cooperation, as the US has contributed much also to the training of our personnel, as well as in the transfer of new technologies''.
Questioned by reporters on three home-made bomb explosions outside the police department in the Athens residential suburb of Kallithea early Wednesday, which caused damage but no injuries, Voulgarakis said they were an ''isolated incident that is not related with the security of the Olympic Games''.
He said that the Greek authorities were conducting an investigation, and stressed that the Olympic Games in Greece were not dependent on such incidents.
Voulgarakis was due to meet Wednesday evening (US time, early Thursday Greek time) with Senator Paul Sarbanes, who is of Greek origin, and attend a dinner in his honor to be hosted by Greek ambassador to the US George Savvaides.
On Thursday, Voulgarakis was scheduled to attend a working lunch (8:00 p.m. Greek time) with deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage and his associates at the State Department dealing with the sectors of security and combatting terrorism, followed by separate meetings with FBI director Robert Mueller at FBI headquarters, US president George Bush's national security advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and CIA chief George Tenet at the White House.
Source: Athens News Agency