15 June, 2006
Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyannis on Wednesday opened a conference in Athens on the theme “How Greece deals with the threat of terrorism," organized by the Greek Communications Institute.
The minister pointed out that the threat of terrorism still exists in Greece in spite of the dismantling of the 17N terrorist group. He also stressed that vigilance, effective planning, improved international cooperation, better action coordination and use of new technologies are necessary in the battle against terrorism.
Former public order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, who had been minister when the notorious N17 terrorist group was dismantled, agreed that terrorism should be combated primarily through political means while policies against terrorism should be characterized by consistency. He concluded that international cooperation is necessary to deal with Islamic extremist terrorism, adding that the Moslem world should be approached politically in a way that will help in the cooperation of civilizations as a counterpoise to the civilization conflict theories.
Greek think-tank Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) Research director Thanos Dokos maintained that defense against terrorism will inevitably be ineffective if it is limited to within each country's borders, adding that the problem has to be dealt with at its places of origin, beyond the Balkans, where, of course, the economic cost and the risk of losses will be greater.
The second part of the conference titled "The foreign policy of Greece and the handling of terrorism", organized by the Greek Communications Institute, was held on Wednesday with Foreign Ministry Secretary General Theodoros Skylakakis and the ministry's spokesman George Koumoutsakos being the main speakers.
Skylakakis distinguished between local and international terrorism. Referring to local terrorism that Greece had experienced, he said that for as long as the November 17 group was active the Greek economy was harmed in the '80s and '90s because this phenomenon had serious repercussions on the attraction of investments.
As regards international terrorism, Skylakakis said that its declared target is disrupting international economic markets and the oil market in particular. He added that Greece pays dearly for international terrorism since tourism and oil imports have an increased share in the economy.
Koumoutsakos, referring to local terrorism experienced in the country, said that Greece's international image improved a great deal after the November 17 group was broken up and even more so after the Olympic Games.
Explaining the conception of Greek policy on the phenomenon of terrorism, the foreign ministry spokesman said that "we do not believe that repressive action is enough and it must be harmonized with a policy of development, of equal opportunities and of a better future."
Source: Athens News Agency