Greece and USA forge trust after embassy attack

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis held a confidence-building meeting with US Ambassador Charles Ries yesterday as the head of police said he was optimistic about the investigation into last week’s missile attack on the US Embassy. «For yet another time, we have discovered that there is excellent cooperation between Greece and the US in combating violence and terrorism,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. Some diplomats had feared that relations between the two countries may have been dented by Friday’s attack on the embassy but Koumoutsakos said that Friday’s attack had not affected relations. Bakoyannis and Ries did not make any public comments after their meeting. The two diplomats did not focus solely on the issue of terrorism but also discussed Balkan matters, the upcoming NATO summit on Afghanistan and Athens’s request for Greeks to be eligible for the US’s visa waiver program. Koumoutsakos said that talks between the two sides about the visa waiver program will continue. Meanwhile, Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis said he is optimistic about the investigation into the US Embassy attack but admitted that «we have much ground to cover.» The chief of police said that more than 20,000 cars had been checked as part of the investigation as officers try to track down the vehicle that may have been used by the attacker or attackers. Dimoschakis said the checks had not produced any clues. High-ranking sources at the Public Order Ministry told Kathimerini that despite the around-the-clock work being put in by Greek and FBI experts, there had been no significant breakthroughs so far. «I have complete faith in ELAS (the Greek Police) and its methods which I am sure will be effective,» said Culture Minister and former public order minister Giorgos Voulgarakis. The terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle is thought to be behind the strike on the US Embassy but it has yet to issue a statement, which the organization has done in the past after high-profile attacks. The government repeated its call yesterday for security services to be allowed to use the CCTV system installed before the Athens Olympics in 2004. «Freedom and security can go hand in hand,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. «When you have technology at your disposal, you can use it and still totally respect the Constitution and private life.»

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