Americans Calm Aegean Waters

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: A flurry of high-level calls from Clinton Administration officials brought Greece and Turkey back from the brink of war over a pile of rocks in the eastern Aegean Sea late Tuesday. The Turkish military was prepared to attack the disputed ten-acre island on which seven Greek coast guardsmen had raised the Greek flag. "If the United States hadn't intervened, the Turks would have seized the island," said Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, who brokered the Bosnian peace last fall and negotiated the terms of this withdrawal in a flurry of late night phone calls. President Clinton also called Greek and Turkish leaders, as did his national security adviser Anthony Lake, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Shalikashvili. "I asked them to move their forces away from that little island and find a diplomatic solution," Clinton told reporters. For now, they have. Says TIME's Mark Thompson: "I think they got in trouble and were looking for someone to bail them out. There's a historic rivalry there like the Red Sox and the Yankees. But as members of NATO on the southern flank of Europe they are strategically important. So their rivalry causes problems for us. Clinton acted as the lightning rod and took away the electricity."