Clinton's warm welcome
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Thu Nov 4 11:16:14 MST 1999
Clinton trip sparks Greek bomb,terrorism row
By Jeremy Gaunt
ATHENS, Nov 4 (Reuters) - A gas canister bomb, planted by a group protesting
U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece, destroyed two cars and damaged
several others on Thursday while a diplomatic row brewed over Greek efforts
to combat terrorism.
Greek media said a group calling itself Anti-State Action claimed
responsibility for the attack on an Athens car dealership, saying it was to
``welcome'' Clinton, who is due in the city on November 13.
Initial reports said the bomb had destroyed seven cars, but police later said
only two cars were destroyed and five others damaged.
No one was injured in the attack, which was similar to numerous others
launched in Greece by small, self-styled anarchist or leftist groups.
Greece, meanwhile, said it had formally complained to the U.S. government
over a Washington Post article suggesting that the United States believed
senior Greek officials were reluctant to arrest members of more established
urban guerrilla groups.
GREEK AMBASSADOR ISSUES COMPLAINT
The government said in a statement that its ambassador to Washington,
Alexandros Philon, had made the complaint to Assistant U.S. Secretary of
State Marc Grossman on Wednesday.
The article quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying there were suspicions
that some Greek officials may have had associations with the deadly November
17 group and were reluctant to bring it to justice.
November 17 -- named after the day in 1973 when Greece's then ruling military
junta sent tanks to quash a student uprising -- is accused of killing 22
people, including four U.S. officials, over a 24-year period.
No one has been arrested from the group, whose last attack took place in May
when it launched a rocket grenade at the German ambassador's residence in
``It is logical to assume that people didn't want to look under every rock
because of what they might find,'' one U.S. official was quoted as saying in
the Post article.
``If they arrest the leader, for example, and he turns out to be a former
best friend of a PASOK (Socialist party) leader, that would be
U.S. officials were quick to deny allegations that the United States had made
``Any suggestions that terrorist suspects are linked to the Greek government
are groundless and do not represent U.S. policy and views,'' U.S. Ambassador
Nicholas Burns said in a statement.
Clinton was widely criticised in Greece earlier this year over Washington's
leading role in the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.
A small group of demonstrators marched through Athens on Thursday, accusing
the U.S. president of murder.
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