US input sought to curb terror

The recent resurgence of domestic terrorism, the dramatic escape from jail of two of the country’s most notorious convicts and the December riots have tarnished Greece’s image in the US but bilateral cooperation is now being initiated aimed at curbing these phenomena, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has told Kathimerini following her official visit to Washington last week. «Greece’s image has suffered a blow… and there is no doubt that great efforts are necessary to improve this image,» Bakoyannis said in an interview published in yesterday’s Kathimerini. She suggested that Athens would seek more input from Washington about how to handle the recent problems. «(The US government and media) already know that there is cooperation and that we do not have a moment to lose. We will seek cooperation on all fronts to tackle this situation because we are determined not to let this phenomenon grow,» she added. Bakoyannis said her talks with US officials, chiefly with her counterpart Hillary Clinton, illustrated an acknowledgement that Greece can now play a role in major international issues relating to the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus region. «It is the first time that it has been widely accepted, inside and outside Greece, that our discussions about foreign policy do not have to be exclusively restricted to matters of purely Greek interest,» Bakoyannis said. She added that US officials were «positive» about Greece’s presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its effort to help monitor the situation in war-torn Georgia. As for issues of direct concern to Greece, such as Turkey’s provocative actions in the Aegean, Bakoyannis said US officials expressed «understanding.» She said Clinton had voiced her intention to discuss the Aegean issue with Turkish officials. Regarding the ongoing dispute involving the name used by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bakoyannis said she only discussed it briefly in talks with US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, during which she expressed her «lack of optimism» for a breakthrough.

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