The Soviet naval build-up in the Mediterranean was a topic for urgent discussion when North Atlantic treaty Organisation Secretary General Joseph Luns arrived in Athens yesterday (Friday).
The Soviet naval build-up in the Mediterranean was a topic for urgent discussion when North Atlantic treaty Organisation Secretary General Joseph Luns arrived in Athens yesterday (Friday). At the start of a three-day visit, Dr. Luns had an hour-long meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papadopoulos. Mr. Papadopoulos, who is also Defence and Foreign Minister, was later to declare that NATO had achieved its objective of maintaining peace but that it was dangerous to contemplate any weakening in the strength of the alliance.
SYNOPSIS: Athens airport. And the aircraft arriving brought Dr. Joseph Luns, new Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, on a three-day visit to Greece last Friday. Top Foreign Ministry officials greeted him at the airport. Dr. Luns had flown in from Ankara to continue his study of the alliance's defence arrangements along its south-eastern flank. His trip has been given an added sense of urgency by the Soviet naval build-up in the Mediterranean. An equally pressing problem for Dr. Luns is the Cyprus situation, an the involvement of Greece and Turkey--both NATO allies--in the confrontation of the two communities on the island.
Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Luns visited the Parliament building for an hour-long meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. George Papadopoulos. The Premier, who is also Defence and Foreign Minister, later declared that any weakening of NATO would crate widespread dangers for its member countries. At a dinner given in his honour, Dr. Luns said that the eastern Mediterranean had become a highly sensitive and vulnerable sector for NATO because of the increased Soviet naval presence. There was, he added, a general awareness of the great effort made by Greece to maintain the defence of the area. Not all members of NATO were equally aware of the perils confronting the alliance, said Dr. Luns, adding that the strength of the alliance lay in its continued unity.