Days after the signing of the EastMed pipeline deal between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, and amid a new Middle East crisis, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is visiting Washington for official meetings with the US administration.
According to government sources, the PM’s visit aims to highlight Greece’s fundamental role for the stability of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean and show that Athens is the most reliable US ally in the region.
It will be Trump’s first meeting with a state leader following the US strike that killed Iranian top general Soleimani. Mitsotakis is expected to raise the issue of Turkey’s moves both on migration and Eastern Mediterranean, especially after Ankara’s decision to send troops to Libya.
The Greek PM’s visit to Washington is expected to have a significant economic aspect as he is scheduled to meet with the new IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, before meeting the US president and investors on Wednesday. Energy projects, as well as R&D investments, are on the Greek delegation’s agenda.
Mitsotakis will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias and the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostas Fragogiannis, Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Minister of Development Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Education Niki Kerameus and government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
Government sources told EURACTIV.gr that we could see results also on educational matters, with some possible collaborations between universities and institutions, especially since the University of Athens just announced the first-ever Bachelor Degree taught fully in English for non-EU students.
Greek news website TVXS, which is critical of the government, reported that no joint press conference has been scheduled. The website says that would mean that Trump does not want to commit in public in favour of Greek positions especially when it comes to Turkey.
However, Greek media reported today in the morning that Athens is still optimistic that Trump will change his mind and a joint press conference will ultimately take place. Although many US government officials have publicly backed the Greek arguments, Athens says it’s crucial that this support is expressed in public by Trump himself.
(Theodore Karaoulanis | EURACTIV.gr – Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos)