06 February, 2008
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Tuesday held talks with Assistant Secretary for Policy Development Richard C. Barth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding Greece's request to be included in the modernized U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
This is the second delegation from the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security to visit Athens and will hold further talks with officials at the foreign, interior and justice ministries on February 4-5.
"Our consular and immigration experts reported back very favourably on their visit to Greece last November, so I'm delighted to be in Athens to talk about next steps toward the VWP for our two countries," Barth is quoted by saying in a U.S. Embassy announcement issued on Tuesday regarding the visit.
"We look forward to continuing these discussions with our Greek counterparts," he added. "If our bilateral contacts continue to go well, I hope we can implement the VWP in Greece sometime in 2008."
The announcement also noted that Greece was the first and is so far the only country to have received a formal nomination to the modernized VWP since the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 became U.S. law last August 3.
The U.S. has now also begun discussions with all current participants regarding the modernized VWP, as well as with several other countries that wish to be considered for it in the future.
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