George A. Papandreou - President of Socialist International - Former Prime Minister
George A. Papandreou - President of Socialist International - Former Prime Minister
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Interview by George A. Papandreou, Foreign Minister of Greece

3 February 2002

Associated Press

Question:  With the upcoming Winter Olympics Greece announced the initiative for Olympic Truce. Please tell me the goals of such initiative.

Answer:  Greece in 1896 was able to revive the ancient Olympic Games. This century we want to revive the concept behind the Olympic Games which was peace. That's how they came about in the ancient times, it was a search for peace. The Olympic Truce was the way. During those Games no wars were fought and everybody recognize this and apply the Olympic Truce. Just before the Games there was an announcement that everybody should respect this peaceful Games cooperation. So we have began with the International Olympic Committee a movement, an attempt to revive this, and there is an appeal both by the President of the I.O.C., Jacques Rogge on this, previously Juan Antonio Samaranch and the United States actually tabled a UN resolution, which all of us signed, because it is hosting the Games, on the Olympic Truce. I have also began a series of getting signatures from personalities around the world. We began on the Balkans, both I and the Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem, also in the Middle East, Minister Simon Peres and the Palestinian side. So I think there is a new momentum and what we are trying to say is that there is a vision of a peaceful world and through this tradition, this peaceful and wonderful tradition, the Olympic Games, let's make it happen. We will bring this message to Salt Lake City and I am sure it will be welcomed.

Question:  Has the Bush administration or the UN supported such an initiative?

Answer:  Kofi Annan himself personally has supported it very strongly. We have just published a booklet that gives all the UN resolutions which are supporting this concept and they say that the US administration tabled a resolution only last month in the UN calling for the Olympic Truce.

Question:  How ready the Greek government is to fight terrorism during the Olympic Games in Athens?

Answer:  Absolutely ready and committed. We are working very close with governments around the word, investing huge amount of money in security and we are working out with the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee following it the last year how it has double security issues and certainly these days and there will be an important experience for us to apply similar measures in Athens.

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