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U-S Ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller, on the arrest of a “November 17” suspect in Athens. - 2002-07-08


Byline: George Bistis Broadcast Date: MONDAY 7/8/2002 1st VOA Brodacast at 11:15 EDT 1st Simulcast in Cyprus at 11:45 EDT (Radio Proto) 1st Simulcast in Athens at 13:15 EDT (Radio SKAI) 1st Satellite feed to other affiliates at 2:00 ETD

PROGRAM SEGMENT

Bistis: Our guest at this hour is the United States Ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller, who participates in our show by telephone from Athens. Mr. Ambassador welcome to our program. This past week, the Greek Police have said that they have, for the first time, arrested a member of the elusive “November 17” terrorist group and discovered its main hideout in Athens. How do you view this development?

Miller: I think this is very positive. We, like the Greek people and the Greek Government, are very glad to see these developments.

Bistis: Mr. Ambassador, you have said that the cooperation with the Greek authorities, in connection with this case, has been excellent. Can you elaborate on the kind of cooperation that has been developed between the two sides?

Miller: Well, this is a Greek case, that’s the most important thing. These are crimes that have been committed in Greece. In some cases, in several cases, they (the terrorists) have murdered five people at the American Embassy and a couple of dozen other American officials have been injured by “November 17”. That is terrible and that is why we are deeply interested, part of the reason we are interested (in the outcome of the investigation). But let us remember, three times as many Greeks have been killed by this group and British and Turks and others. So this is something we all have a lot of interest in. To the extent that we can lend our expertise, our background, our experience, to help the Greeks in solving this case, we’re more than happy to do so, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

Bistis: What is the role of the FBI in this investigation?

Miller: Well, our FBI, our legal attachι and his colleagues are working very, very closely with not only the Greek government but with the British as well and I would say that this is as good a cooperation as I have ever seen. I have seen some stories about the British are doing this and we are doing that but it is a totally hand-in-glove cooperation. There is no different methodology and there is no better or worse agency – we are working very closely together.

Bistis: Do you believe, Mr. Ambassador, that the Greek police are finally closing in on the anti-American group November 17?

Miller: It is not (strictly) an anti-American group. It’s an anti-Greek group as well, and anti-British, and anti-Turkish. It’s basically a group that is “anti” all the values that we all stand for, in the year 2002. This is a group that has kind of lost its compass—if it ever had one. I hope that they are finally closing in. You know, one thing that I don’t try to do in my job is to predict the future. I just do my job as best I can day in and day out, and in you do that, the future will take care of itself. So, I hope—as does the government and the people of Greece—hope that this is finally going to be the end of this group.

Bistis: Do you believe that there will be a beneficial effect out of all this for the summer Olympics of 2004, in Athens?

Miller: Sure, there is no question about it. If you can eliminate the scourge of terrorism, the domestic terrorism in this country, I think it is a very, very positive message. But one thing I want to say, and this is very important, is that it is going to take a while, you know. This is the time for good, hard, investigative work, you can’t rush it. I am as anxious as everyone else, as are the families of the victims and all of our governments. But you’ve got to do the good, hard, investigative research and work, to make sure that when you apprehend these folks that you will have solid cases against them in the Greek Court of Law.

Bistis: Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador and all the very best to you. I know it is going to be difficult waiting to get the results of these investigations but, as you pointed out, we have to wait and be patient and hopefully something good will come out of all this. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

Miller: Thank you George.

Bistis: Our guest has been the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller, who joined us by telephone from Athens. This is George Bistis reporting. From all of us at the Voice of America, good night from Washington.

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