Prime Minister Costas Simitis
Summary of Responses on Terrorism at a Press Conference
Athens, Greece
September 19, 2001

Following his meeting today in Athens with the visiting President of Iceland, O.R. Grimsson, Prime Minister Costas Simitis held a press conference during which he made a strong statement against international terrorism and stressed the necessity of collaborative international action.

"It is our common view that our countries must pursue an uncompromising policy against terrorism. . . During the past several days, our planet has carried the weight of the impact of the recent terrorist attack on the United States of America, during which thousands of citizens, including Greek Americans, became victims of blind violence.

"This revolting act", Mr. Simitis continued, "defies the values which constitute the foundation of our own society, as well as those of other countries. We do not have the slightest understanding or tolerance for the terrorists. We have one and absolute response - no compromise or dealings with them. That would only debase our faith in the value of human life, our belief in democracy and in a democratic society."

"We declare our solidarity to the American people in this time of their travail. We will cooperate with our allies to put an end to terrorist violence."

"The terrorist attack affects international developments on many levels. We have an obligation to manage "the day after" in a wise and responsible manner. Fanaticism, sermons of discord and underdevelopment bring about the blossoming of evil.

"We believe that it is the duty of the European Union to undertake strong action and intervene in international developments, to exercise its significant political role in the world, to promote policies that will lead to an international security system, an international front against terrorism."

"This Friday, September 21, we will discuss these problems during a special summit meeting of the European Union in Brussels. "While it is obvious that caution and prudence is required of all of us, we must not be fearful or feel helpless."

In response to a question as to a possible increase in Middle East tensions and the likely future actions of the Taliban, Mr. Simitis said: "It is impossible for this act to go unanswered. Every response leads to tension. But, I would also like to stress that this must not create, neither here nor anywhere else, the sense that these developments are out of control. These developments are manageable and the purpose of the EU summit this Friday is to achieve the best possible planning, the best possible preparation, and the formulation of policy to accomplish what we all hope for, that is, a free and democratic society that ensures cooperation and respect for the individual.

Replying to another question whether, in the context of NATO's Article 5, Greece will participate in any future operations, Mr. Simitis said: "Greece will join in the initiatives that will be decided upon. It will participate in a manner that will be determined by the decisions we take. It is self evident that, as members of the Alliance, and since we believe in these values, we must contribute to their defense."