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Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Greek shock at killing
Plainclothes police officers at the scene of the killing
Plainclothes police officers at the scene of the killing
Leading Greek politicians have been expressing shock and outrage over the shooting of British diplomat Stephen Saunders.

In a message to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said no effort would be spared to bring Mr Saunders' attackers to justice.

"I am deeply shocked by the assassination of British defence attaché in Athens Stephen Saunders," Mr Simitis said, in a message read out on NET TV.

Brigadier Saunders
Brigadier Saunders was married with two children
"The Greek government and the Greek people categorically condemn any kind of terrorist operation. We will not spare any efforts in bringing the culprits to justice, and we are determined to actively continue our difficult fight against terrorism.

"Please accept, on behalf of the Greek Government and the Greek people, my expression of special support and my condolences to the family of the victim."

'Damage to country'

Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the government would not tolerate terrorism.

"I want to very emphatically condemn this terrorist act and to stress that this act is not condemned only by the Greek government but the entire Greek people," he said. "The Greek Government will pitilessly confront terrorism and, of course, will defend Greece's public and international image."

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis
Costas Simitis condemned the shooting
Public Order Minister Mikhail Khrisokhoidhis said the action had damaged the whole country.

"I informed the prime minister on the tragic incident that took place this morning against the British defence attaché," he said. "I want to express again my abhorrence, deep sadness, and condolences to the family of the victim.

"I believe that apart from the loss of the unlucky victim, this action primarily harms the interests of the country."

The Greek Communist Party condemned the abhorrent action "regardless of its origin" and noted that the attack had taken place not long after the US State Department had issued a report on terrorism in Greece.

Another party, the Coalition of the Left and Progress, issued a statement condemning the attack as "a blind act of violence".

And in Cyprus, the government condemned the attack saying it had served no purpose other than to create problems and leave Greece exposed.

Government spokesman Mikhalis Papapetrou said the attack was the concern of Cyprus too, in that Athens is "our main supporter in our effort to solve the Cyprus question".

He added: "We condemn this act and convey our condolences to the British Government and the family of the victim."

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