UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 001089
STATE ALSO FOR H AND RM/F/DFS/FO/AA/CAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AFIN GR OREP
SUBJECT: CODEL COSTELLO - GREECE (AUGUST 2-3)
Â¶1. Embassy Athens warmly welcomes the visit of CODEL
Costello to Souda Bay, Crete, Greece, on August 2-3.
Â¶2. Embassy Athens Administrative POC for CODEL Costello is:
Bill Murad, Public Diplomacy Officer
Email: MuradEW at state.gov, Eshel7 at aol.com
CODEL schedule information is being provided via e-mail.
Â¶3. The Embassy has confirmed reservation at
Single: 85 euro ($133.86)
Double: 110 euro ($173.23)
Rates include breakfast and are not changeable after
Thursday, July 31, 2008. Billing will be direct through
Embassy and charged to fund cite.
The Embassy will provide expeditor assistance upon arrival
Â¶4. VISA Requirements: Diplomatic and official passport
holders must have Greek diplomatic visas, a valid Schengen
visa or diplomatic ID from any other Schengen country, in
addition to their passport, in order to enter Greece. The
Embassy will be unable to obtain planeside visas for USG
employees arriving in Greece without proper documentation.
Holders of tourist passports do not require visas for a stay
up to 90 days only.
Â¶5. Embassy Athens is designated "high" for indigenous
terrorism. In the past, local Greek terrorist groups have
targeted prominent Greeks as well as certain non-Greek
Officials, including Americans. We believe that the threat
to official US Government personnel on short-term assignments
to Greece or visiting for tourism is relatively low. The
indigenous groups historically have engaged in extensive
operational surveillance over long periods of time. In 2003
and again in 2004, the Greek Government made significant
progress to combat domestic terrorism by successfully
convicting the leader and key hit men of the November 17
terrorist organization and of the ELA. 17N was responsible
for assassinating prominent Greeks and five members of the US
Mission over the course of its 30-year history. Convicted
ELA members were responsible for several bombings, attempted
murders and were involved in at least one assassination.
While these convictions likely impacted on the operational
capabilities of 17N and ELA, it is too soon to assess whether
the threat from domestic terrorism is completely eliminated.
There have been several attacks against Greek police over the
last year, including the December 2004 assassination of a
special police guard in front of the residence of the British
military attache. We urge vigilance and caution, as the
worldwide threterrorist groups againse protestst protests or demonstrations could occur at any time;
unwitting observers or bystanders might be identified, to
their disadvantage, as Americans. RSO recommends that
official U.S. travelers in Greece remain alert when moving
about in public places and avoid certain places where
demonstrators frequently congregate. These places include
the Polytechnical University area, located on 28 October
(Patission) Street between the National Archeological Museum
and Omonia Square; Exarchion Square, located near Kolonaki;
Omonia and Syntagma Squares, which are often used as launch
sites for large demonstrations; and Mavili Square, located
near the U.S. Embassy. Visitors should keep abreast of ews
about large demonstrations and avoid thes areas and metro
ATHENS 00001089 002 OF 002
Crime is rated "medium" in Greece. For TDY visitors, pick
pocketing and purse snatching are the most common crimes.
Taxis are generally safe though metered cabs are recommended.
Taxis too will often pick up more than one passenger unless
prior arrangements are made. Crimes of opportunity )
thefts, break-ins, and occasional scams ) are on the rise.
Travelers should be especially cautious with wallets, purses,
and parcels when traveling on crowded streets, public buses,
trolleys, and/or subways. There have been several instances
of motorcyclists approaching cars stuck in traffic, reaching
through open windows or smashing closed ones, and stealing
whatever is within reach. We have also recently learned of a
new method in which motorcyclists open the trunk of a vehicle
and remove the contents. Security recommends keeping purses,
parcels, handbags, etc. out of sight under the seat or on the
floor of the car. Windows should be kept closed and doors
locked. Pedestrians may also be confronted by beggars and
other street people who may attempt to divert attention, then
steal unprotected valuables ) either by pick pocketing or
snatch-and-grab techniques. Women are generally safe from
violent crime in Greece. Men are aggressive by American
standards however when pursuing women.