Greece, US to cooperate on security, minister says after Washington visit

Greek and US authorities have agreed to boost their cooperation in international security affairs with the exchange of information regarding individuals entering the European Union via Greece, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias told reporters on Monday, after briefing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on a visit to the US where he met with officials from the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency.

“There will be a broadening of cooperation as regards screening so that Greek citizens can feel safe in their movements in and out of the country,” Kikilias said.

The minister did not elaborate on media reports that Greek and US officials discussed the possibility of jihadists passing through Greece but he noted that the problem of radical Islamic fighters was obviously a priority for Washington and that Athens stood ready to help. “We are working with them on this and other matters,” he said. He added that Greece was “a pillar of stability” in a volatile region.

Asked whether US authorities were planning to issue an announcement regarding a bounty on November 17 convict Christodoulos Xeros, who has been at large since last January when he absconded during a prison furlough, Kikilias did not answer directly but appeared to indicate that developments were expected. “Announcements will be issued by the State Department,” he said.

Greek authorities have offered a 1-million-euro reward for information leading to the arrest of the 55-year-old Xeros, who vowed a return to violence in a video released on the Internet shortly after his disappearance last January.

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