- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wanted in Greece

“What you know could be worth millions!”

That is the message on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Greece (https://athens.usembassy.gov) in its quest for information on the terrorists who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the American diplomatic mission in Athens in January.

No one was injured in the attack because the embassy was closed at the time. However the lack of injuries or serious property damage has not dampened Ambassador Charles P. Ries‘ determination to find the culprits.

Both the embassy and the Greek government yesterday announced separate rewards of $1 million each to any informant who fingers the terrorists responsible for the Jan. 12 attack. The embassy even promised to relocate witnesses who fear for their lives if they come forward.

“Each year terrorist attacks like this kill and injure innocent men, women and children throughout the world,” the embassy said. “You can help bring terrorists to justice and save lives by providing valuable information to resolve past acts of terrorism or prevent future ones.”

The embassy also opened an e-mail tip line at [email protected]

The Greek Interior Ministry, which offered the government reward, said members of a group called the Revolutionary Struggle claimed credit for the attack. The group first appeared in 2003 and is responsible for seven attacks in Athens that slightly injured three persons.

The embassy and the ministry defended the search for the terrorists and denied Greek press reports that Mr. Ries is privately upset because of the lack of progress in the investigation.

“Recent press reports that the ambassador or any other U.S. official has criticized the minister of public order or the ministry … are untrue,” the embassy said.

“The U.S. Embassy again expresses its satisfaction with the professional response of Greek law enforcement agencies to the rocket-propelled grenade attack.”

Mr. Ries denounced the attack in a press conference on the morning of Jan. 12.

“There can be no justification for such a senseless act of violence,” he said.

Despot in a corner

The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe yesterday denounced President Robert Mugabe as a “despot dictator,” ignoring demands from the Zimbabwean leader for foreign ambassadors to stop criticizing his regime.

Ambassador Christopher Dell told Agence France-Presse that Mr. Mugabe creates international disputes when the repressed domestic opposition grows too restive. He said Mr. Mugabe unleashed youth gangs and thugs from his Central Intelligence Organization to attack opposition rallies.

“The fact is that the man is in a corner, and he knows it,” Mr. Dell said in an interview in Johannesburg, where he stopped on a long-scheduled trip to London.

“He has governed Zimbabwe for 26 years with a combination of repression and patronage. As the economy crumbles, the ability to use these things disappear. He has nothing to steal and give away.”

Inflation is soaring at 1,730 percent a year, and unemployment is a staggering 80 percent.

“What we are really looking at is a failing regime that is increasingly wobbly,” Mr. Dell added. “Every time he is in a corner, he tries to radicalize the situation further to regain a tactical advantage. … This is a typical reaction from a despot dictator.”

Mr. Dell on Monday walked out of a meeting with Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who summoned foreign ambassadors and threatened to expel them.

The foreign minister declared that Zimbabwe “would not tolerate interference in our affairs.”

Mr. Mugabe last week demanded that foreign diplomats “behave properly, or else we kick them out of our country.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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