PM, IOC president and ATHOC chief examine completion of Olympic Games projects
ATHENS.- International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge believes the new Greek government must make several important decisions on delayed projects for the Athens Olympics within the next two weeks. He also said Olympic security experts will analyze the deadly train bombings in Madrid as part of a review of Athens’ massive security preparations for the Aug. 13-29 games.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis examined tight time limits remaining for the completion of certain Olympic Games projects, such as the Calatrava roof at the Athens Olympic Stadium and the tram and urban railway networks, as well as the issue of the Games security, in a meeting he chaired at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday in which International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald, Athens Olympic Games Organising Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni and other officials participated.
Karamanlis promised that preparation rates will be speeded up, while Rogge expressed optimism after the meeting that excellent and safe Games will be achieved with hard work.
Rogge further said that talks will be resumed in two weeks’ time, on the occasion of his visit to Greece to attend the lighting of the Olympic Torch, to enable appropriate decisions to be taken on the timely completion of projects.
Rogge also praised the fact that the prime minister has undertaken the issue of the Games’ preparation himself and, according to authoritative reports, expressed satisfaction over his constructive meeting with Karamanlis. He told his associates that in two hours of discussions problems were solved which very often required many meetings.
He also referred to the Games’ security, saying that everything humanly possible is being done. On the question of the terrorist attack in Madrid earlier this week, the IOC president said it will be evaluated with regard to the measures which must be taken for the Games.
Rogge expressed his enthusiasm over arrangements made for the Marathon course, since the problem has been overcome and a new construction company has taken charge of the project which will begin with a new intensive pace.
A press release issued by the IOC on the same day said ”during a productive meeting, which took place this morning at 10.30 am in Athens, the IOC, together with Prime Minister Karamanlis, members of his cabinet and representatives of ATHOC, reviewed a number of issues surrounding the Games. Most notably, the parties discussed the government’s overall commitment to Games preparations: the construction works of the Olympic venues, transport and infrastructure issues, security and state coordination with Games operations.”
It went on to say that ”commenting at the end of the meeting, IOC President Rogge said ‘this was a very positive meeting and the IOC very much welcomes Prime Minister Karamanlis’s decision to take the lead in managing the organization of the Games by taking responsibility for the Ministry of Culture. This demonstrates the importance that he and his government put on the preparations for the Games and their ultimately successful outcome’.”
The press release further cited Rogge as saying ”our experts have confirmed to us that while a lot remains to be done, there is still time for the preparations to be successfully completed if all energies are mobilized and focused in the same direction. We look forward therefore to seeing some positive steps over the coming days and weeks. I realize how important the Games are to the Greek people and I’m sure that they will rise to the challenges that lie before them.”
ATHOC President Daskalaki, focusing on the issue of security, said ”security remains our top priority. We are proceeding towards the Games in an extremely troubled international environment. We are taking all necessary measures, we are anticipating possible dangers and we are planning their handling in cooperation with the IOC and our international partners.”
According to reports, the IOC agrees absolutely with the government’s decision to formally request the assistance of the NATO alliance for the Games’ security.
Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said ”you are all aware how tight time limits are, that there are delays in certain projects and that everything possible will be done to achieve the Games’ success.”
Bakoyianni said on her part that all the Greeks must activate themselves to enable the national wager on the Olympic Games to be won.