"Relations between Greece and Yugoslavia are at a very good level and any evaluation to the contrary is incorrect," Government Spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.
Mr. Venizelos commented on the aftermath of the European Basketball Championship final in Athens between Yugoslavia and Lithuania, during which several hundred Greek fans jeered and booed the Yugoslav team. The jeering in Athens caused large crowds shouting anti-Greek slogans to gather outside the Greek embassy in Belgrade. Stones and bottles were thrown at the embassy building.
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou expressed regret over the fans' jeering, saying the incidents tarnished Greece's image as a host country and did not reflect the true sentiments of the Greek people. Sports Under-Secretary Georgios Lianis said he would fly to Belgrade in an effort to restore traditionally good relations between the two nations.
Replying to questions, Mr. Venizelos said "it is understood" that Mr. Lianis' visit to Belgrade would be in consultation with the foreign ministry. The spokesman reiterated that the actions of a "handful of fanatic fans who are not entitled to call themselves sports fans, do not express the sentiments of the Greek people and most certainly cannot affect the good relations between the two countries."