US cables reveal concerns about Greece

A batch of classified diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Athens, originally obtained by WikiLeaks and seen by Kathimerini, shed light on American diplomats? assessment of Greek politicians and reveal concerns in Washington in recent years, ranging from fears of Islamic fundamentalists entering Greece amid an influx of illegal immigrants to worries about Greek overtures to Russia in the energy sector.

The cables were scoured by Kathimerini reporters during a visit to Oslo after the Norwegian daily Aftenposten said it would grant Kathimerini access to tens of thousands of State Department cables obtained from WikiLeaks.

The cables concerning Greece, most of them issued from the US Embassy in Athens over the past three or four years, also shed light on Washington?s assessment of Prime Minister George Papandreou, his conservative predecessor Costas Karamanlis and other prominent Greek politicians.

A cable sent from the US Embassy in Athens to the State Department shortly after conservative New Democracy was re-elected in September 2007 observes that Papandreou, then the leader of PASOK in opposition, experienced problems striking a balance between the old guard of the party who had governed with his father and the new blood in his own circle.

Another cable sent to the State Department a few weeks after PASOK returned to power in October 2009 gives a similar assessment of the challenges facing Papandreou, referring to administrative problems and tensions between two key camps representing the old guard and newcomers.

As for Karamanlis, one cable indicates that he was regarded as the ?Buddha? of the Greek political scene because he rarely revealed his thoughts.

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