HomeVoulgarakis 200512-04-2005: Speech by the Minister of Public Order, Mr. Giorgios Voulgarakis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS)

12-04-2005: Speech by the Minister of Public Order, Mr. Giorgios Voulgarakis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS)

WASHINGTON, 12/04/2005

It is a great honor for me to be here today addressing to distinguished people, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where, important thinkers give birth to advanced ideas turned into political decisions.

At the dawn of the 21st century international society is confronting an intense insecurity.
Our world faces terrorism.
The tragic events of 9/ 11 turned the page in the history of humanity.

Terrorist threats create a conflicting environment between different civilizations. Apart from terrorism, phenomena like:
– illegal migration,
– trafficking,
– drugs,
– smuggling of weapons  of mass destruction,
are new types of dangers not only for our countries but also for the wellbeing of humanity.

Therefore, the establishment of a secure environment is the principal duty for states and It is also the essential condition for stability and growth.

The lesson learned from the 9/11 events as well as from what happened later on, in Madrid, Riad, Bali, Moscow, Turkey is that terrorists move all around the globe.
They do train in some countries
They do plan in some other,
They do use infrastructure in other, and finally
They do execute their plans elsewhere.

International cooperation is the only way to face global terrorism and the dangers that I mentioned before.

This is something that we, Greeks, and I personally, as the responsible Minister for the security of the Olympic Games, realized better than any one else.

In such an international environment, we were called to organize safe and secure Olympics, and allow me to mention that they were the first after the 9/11 tragic events.

Preparing a large scale event in an environment of total security was a great challenge for us.
No other country at the time did have an integrated plan in the field of security.

At the same time, we created operational centers at the strategic and tactical level.
In these centers, all agencies involved participated under the integrated command and coordination of the Hellenic Police.
This model was tested through a series of exercises.
211 specific plans were drafted and applied such as:

  •  Plans of counterterrorist response,
  • CBRN ,
  • Protection of critical infrastructure and venues,
  • Dignitaries, athletes, spectators, and visitors? protection
  • Airport and port facilities security
  • Accreditation and so on

In order to support the planning we bought modern equipment
And our personnel was properly trained.

For this specific purpose 1 billion euros was spent exclusively from national resources.

The Security Planning Model was tested under tough conditions through a series of exercises.
Thus, the operational as well as the political factor, including the prime minister himself, could take fast, the right decisions under crisis conditions, through the integrated model of command.

At the international level, the main axis of our planning was the principle that global terrorism can only be faced effectively through international cooperation.
In this framework the Olympic Advisory Group (OSO) was created.
The USA, Israel, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, and Spain, countries with important experience in organizing large scale events participated.  The Olympic Advisory Group, offered counseling support in matters of:
– planning,
– training,
– exercising and
– intelligence.

In a few words we cooperated with the best around the globe in terms of security matters.

 In addition to that, we developed bilateral cooperation.
32 special memoranda of understanding were signed with different countries.
The emphasis was put on the cooperation with our neighboring countries in the Balkans, South-Eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean.
In this framework, I also had the opportunity to make a series of visits that allowed me to strengthen personal relations with my counterpart ministers and especially with my colleagues in the Balkans.
Our close relationship was extended beyond the preparations for the Olympic Games.

As a result a solid base of cooperation has been created.

Allow me at this point to make a special comment on our cooperation with the USA, not only at the bilateral level but also in the field of our cooperation in the Olympic Advisory Group.
In May 2004, during my last visit in the USA, I had the opportunity to meet with high ranking officials regarding the preparations for the Games. The US support was particularly important and focused specifically on:

  • intelligence,
  • personnel training,
  • readiness exercises and know-how,
  • provision of equipment,
  • plans for the prevention and response against terrorist attacks.

Additionally, we asked the NATO support for the implementation of an integrated plan of counterterrorist response, consequences and casualties´ management.

We created a security umbrella not only in the 5 Olympic cities, but all around the country, in high seas and international airspace.
An essential parameter of the Olympic Security Planning was not to disturb the joyful atmosphere of the Event.

We did not want security measures to constrain personal rights and citizens liberties.

We did not want Athens or any other city to be like a military camp.
At the same time, no exemptions were made in terms of security.

I can tell you, now, that we did a successful job.
The Olympic Security Planning was complete, essential and effective.

Let me, at this point, refer to the fact that the Athens Olympic Games were the first in recent history without any incidents or problems.
Today, after the Games, Greece has a new security model that includes:

  • A complete and tested plan of homeland security
  • Advanced technology and know-how
  • Extremely experienced  personnel
  • Plan of communication management
  • Modern structures, institutions and proceedings

In the Ministry of Public Order, we have established the Center for Security Studies, in order to benefit from the Olympic legacy in security matters.
It is a think tank that is going to work on the analysis of security matters, crisis management and counterterrorism action.

A new division, the Crisis Management Division, has also been established at the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police, with highly trained and experienced personnel that participated actively in the security of the Games.

Today, Greece is in its best period of modern history.
We have a strong democracy, a high level of growth, and social cohesion.
Our country is a member of the European Union, NATO and all other important international organizations.
For this reason, I believe that Greece can play a crucial role, in the Balkans, South-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.  In a region, where instability and uncertainty reign and where all of us must contribute to the consolidation of democracy.

We must all work together.
We all understand that the odds of success are far greater if we proceed jointly.
This is the reason why international cooperation is necessary. We can undertake common initiatives together with the USA, other European countries and our neighbors in order to face problems like:

  •  terrorism,
  •  organized crime,
  •  illegal migration,
  •  trafficking,
  •  drugs,
  •  etc

Greece, for instance, offers to host the headquarters of the Balkan and Mediterranean Center for Security Research and Training.
In this center, personnel from different security services of the countries in the region could be trained and specialized with the involvement and support of the USA and other European countries.
Moreover, transnational strategic and tactical exercises can also be organized.

I believe that we can all benefit from:
the experience we had from the Games and the
procedures we have been through in order to create the hostile environment which was needed to secure this huge event.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a common -an undisputable I could say- belief in the globalization era that the supporters of democracy and international cooperation are going to gain strength.
It is also clear that reaction by all those which are against globalization is going to be even greater.
I do worry that unless we develop policies and mechanisms that will respond to problems regarding:

  •  minorities,
  •  intercultural relations and religions,
  •  countries under development,
  •  poverty,
  •  human rights

we are going to witness unprecedented security problems,

All those problems must be addressed with a vision and effectiveness.

We all must agree upon and cooperate towards a security diplomacy in order to deal drastically with modern threats, terrorist networks and fundamentalism.

There must be  only one message:
Democracy will win Terrorism will be defeated.

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