The plans for a landfill in the Keratea region of east Attica have not essentially changed, government spokesman George Petalotis insisted during a press briefing on Tuesday. He stressed that an agreement to withdraw riot police after four months of clashes with the local community and a promise to hold talks would not alter either the plans or the laws involved.
"The work will go ahead but when we can improve the conditions - especially when this concerns an entire local community - it is certain that this outcome could only be judged as positive," Petalotis said concerning the decision to stop clashes and start talks.
He insisted, however, that this was being done "in the framework of implementing the project" and that the talks with residents would "discuss the plans so that details of their implementation might become better".
He denied that Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Environment Minister Tina Birbili had not been kept informed on the Keratea issue by Citizens' Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis, stressing that the planning and implementation of the government's plan was a "collective decision" in which each minister fulfilled their particular role.
The spokesman clarified that Papoutsis had handled the withdrawal of the police after residents agreed to abandon barricades, while the other issues would be discussed by the appropriate ministers. He denied that Papoutsis had agreed to any postponement of the project and said the mediation of the local metropolitan so that tension between two sides might be defused "was not something bad".
"We cannot predict the future reactions but the government's project will go ahead, there is a law and government decision. From then on a way was found to defuse the situation and some details of the plan can be discussed, such as the management body."
Sources within the interior ministry, meanwhile, said work on creating the landfill in Ovriokastro, Keratea was progressing without any interruption on Tuesday, while talks between the local community, Environment Minister Tina Birbili and Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzakri will be held after Easter.
Concerning an alternate proposal put forward by the Lavreotiki municipality, for creating a landfill in the Keratea industrial zone, the ministry noted that there was no provision for this in a 2003 law and that the businesses within the industrial zone did not agree with the proposal.