Foreign Ministry responds to US travel warning

“Greece has been and remains a safe country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said in a statement in response to a warning issued by the US Embassy in Athens on Friday, advising its citizens of the possibility of “unprovoked harassment and violent attacks.”

Delavekouras noted that “the isolated incidents of racial violence that have taken place are foreign to Greeks, to our culture, and to the centuries-old tradition of Greek hospitality.”

He added that the government was “following a policy of zero tolerance” as well as “taking all the necessary measures to prevent and quell such conduct, which we condemn unequivocally.”

On Friday, the US Embassy updated its advice for visitors to Greece to include “a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be foreign migrants.”

The embassy noted that people of African, Asian, Hispanic or Middle Eastern descent were more at risk.

Though no reports of recent attacks on US citizens have been reported, the State Department’s travel section referred to “confirmed reports of US African-American citizens detained by police conducting sweeps for illegal immigrants in Athens.”

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