Accessibility links

Olympic Safety High on Agenda of Bush, Greek PM Meeting - 2004-05-20

The outlook for the summer Olympic games in Athens was high on the agenda when President Bush met at the White House with the new Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Both men vowed to do everything possible to make sure the games are safe and successful.

President Bush said that the United States is cooperating with the Greek government to make sure all those who want to attend the games can do so safely.

He heaped praise on the country's new prime minister, saying progress is being made.

"I know your intentions are to have this the best possible games and for that I am grateful," he said.

Preparations for the summer games have been plagued by construction delays and security concerns. The Greek prime minister said he is sure the problems will be overcome.

"We are doing everything humanly possible in terms of energy, resources, professionals to secure a really successful games and I'm confident that we will succeed at that," Mr. Karamanlis said.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller said it would be fair to say security at the Athens Olympics will be higher than ever seen before. Mr. Mueller said the United States continues to monitor Greece's progress with regard to security, to ensure that the Olympics are free from attack, adding that Greek authorities have been responsive when informed of possible security gaps. He said other nations are working with the Greek government as well, to help assure safety at the games:

"I know the Greek authorities want to make these the safest possible Olympics," he said. "They are looking forward to having the Olympics go off without a hitch. And not only ourselves, but a number of other countries are working with, not only our ambassador, but ambassadors of other countries in Greece, to assure that these could be the safest possible Olympics."

President Bush is not traveling to Greece for the games because of his re-election campaign schedule. His father, former President George Bush, will head the U.S. delegation.

The United States is sending 550 athletes and a support staff of 300, along with more than 100 federal agents to keep an eye on them. The Athens Olympics begin on August 13.