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Greece Backs Away From Libya Sanctions

Associated Press

Greece today backed away from a Common Market agreement to impose diplomatic sanctions against Libya, claiming no solid proof linking Libya to state-sponsored terrorism was presented.

A statement issued by government spokesman Militiades Papaioannou said Greece had “very strong reservations” about the sanctions and had not yet decided whether to apply them.

“National factors and solid proof about the guilt of certain countries for terrorist activities, something which has not yet been provided, will be taken into consideration regarding our country’s application, or nonapplication of the measures decided,” Papaioannou’s statement said.

Earlier today, aides to Papaioannou had provided assurances that Greece would join its 11 Common Market partners in applying the measures against Libya.

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The Common Market foreign ministers agreed Monday to cut Libyan embassy staff levels and restrict the movement of Libyan diplomats in their countries. They also agreed to trim their diplomatic missions in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and introduce stricter visa controls on all Libyans. (Story on Page 6.)

Greece hesitated at first about approving the sanctions and did so after winning agreement from other members on “beginning a political dialogue between the (European Economic) Community and Libya,” Papaioannou’s statement said.

Premier Andreas Papandreou’s ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement and Libyan leader Col. Moammar Kadafi’s regime have a close relationship.

Meanwhile, security police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more than 30 Arabs, including a number of Libyans, have been deported from Greece since the U.S. air strike as part of routine checks.

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