US visa policy upsets Athens

Athens slammed an unexpected decision by Washington yesterday to refuse to drop visa requirements for Greeks traveling to the USA for business or pleasure. The National Security Council reportedly stepped in to put an end to months of negotiations between the two countries, citing «political reasons» for not lifting the requirement for Greek travelers. Commentators speculated that the move was in retaliation for Greece blocking the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s bid to enter NATO earlier this year. «Greece has never accepted the logic of the exertion of pressure between allies,» said Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said the decision was «unjustified» and did nothing to help promote relations between citizens of the two countries. He said he hoped this was not Washington’s final decision.