by Harry Papachristou

ATHENS, May 23 (AFP) - Greece’s massive security plan for the Athens Olympics next August will be presented before hundreds of security officials from across the world at a major conference starting here Monday.
Secret service and police chiefs from the 25 European Union member states as well as the United States, Israel and Australia are among those invited to the behind-closed-doors gathering from May 24-26.
Security officials from 202 Olympic National Committees and commercial sponsors for the Games will also take part in the meeting.
``The conference gives us the opportunity for a detailed presentation of our security planning,’’ Greek public order minister Yiorgos Voulgarakis explained.
With construction worries apparently laid to rest, security has now become the major headache for organisers.
Tension in Iraq and the Middle East have sparked fearsof a terrorist attack during the Games, topped by arecent string of small bomb and arson attacks byhomegrown fringe groups.
Athens expects to deploy some 70,000 securitypersonnel and spend up to one billion euros (1.2 billiondollars) on the Games’ security.
NATO will also be on standby to help with air and seasurveillance as well as a special batallion on chemical,biological and nuclear warfare.
The Olympics security operation will start rolling onJuly 1 with the sealing off of more than 30 venuesbefore the August 13-29 event.
Eight grand-scale security exercises, three involvingmilitary troops, have already been held since November2001.
Many of the dress rehearsals involved Greek officialsup to the rank of minister having to co-ordinateimmediate anti-terrorist action in response tofictitious attacks on the Games.
Officials from the seven countries advising onsecurity - the United States, Britain, Australia,Germany, France, Spain and Israel - are followingclosely the execution of Greece’s anti-terrorist plans.
But Greece has repeatedly refused the presence ofnon-Greek, armed guards for athlete security during theGames.
VIP protection, transport security and accommodation,international terrorism and information exchangemanagement will be among the conference’s subjects.
Officials will also inspect security measures at threevenues, the main stadium, the athletes village and the19th-century marble Panathinaikon stadium, site of thefirst modern Olympics in 1896, where the archerycompetition will take place.