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Some Greeks Criticize U.S. Envoy

April 7, 1998

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Two high-ranking Greek politicians sparred in parliament over the conduct of the U.S. ambassador, who has infuriated many Greeks with his outspoken opinions.

Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis said Monday that Ambassador Nicholas Burns acted like an ``anthippatos,″ which in ancient Greek was used to describe a deputy governor of Imperial Rome.

``He is an ambassador, but he behaves like an anthippatos,″ Kaklamanis said, interrupting Deputy Foreign Minister George Papandreou while he was addressing parliament. ``It’s about time you reined him in.″

``The Foreign Ministry is perfectly aware of how to conduct its business,″ Papandreou shot back.

Kaklamanis, addressing Papandreou’s back as he left the chamber, repeated that ``the ambassador doesn’t act like an ambassador.″

Earlier, Papandreou defended Burns, saying:

``In Greece, which is a deeply democratic country, everyone has a right to have opinions, including the American ambassador or the ambassador of any other country.″

It was the second time in a week that Burns had been criticized by a senior Socialist party official because of his opinions on Greek politics.

At a Balkan business conference, he warned that recent terrorist attacks against American businesses in Greece could harm investor confidence. And he said Greece’s labor laws were an obstacle to foreign investment.

Shortly afterward, the Greek government spokesman told Burns and the United States to ``keep their opinions to themselves.″

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