File Photo: According to the White House official, the U.S. recognises that Greece is a pillar of stability and prudence in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Balkans. APE-MPE, DIMITRIS PAPAMITSOS
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday is a tangible recognition of the importance of the Athens-Washington strategic relationship, a senior White House official underlined. Describing it as a historic moment in relations between the two countries, the U.S. official noted that bilateral relations are currently at perhaps their best level in recent years.
“Prime Minister Mitsotakis promotes a vision for a common future in which the U.S. and Greece are stable partners working together to address issues in a region of major importance,” he said.
Role of Greece
According to the White House official, the U.S. recognises that Greece is a pillar of stability and prudence in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Balkans. In fact, he added, this role becomes even more valuable at a time when major changes are taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean region. As he noted, “Greece is transforming from a source of problems to a source of solutions. And it is a pillar of stability that is a critical part of America’s broader strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The U.S. official underlined that the renewal of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement with Greece demonstrates the ever closer security partnership between the two countries.
“Let me underline from the American side the quality of cooperation between our forces, where they cooperate not only as NATO allies but also as countries with common values and common strategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
He also underlined the fact that Athens shares with Washington the same approach to 5G technology-related security.
Describing in detail the steps taken by the government to improve the business environment, the White House official estimated that Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit would send the message to U.S. investors that Greece is open to business and that the economic climate has changed significantly in Greece.
“The (Greek) government understands the importance of the economic opportunities that the U.S. offers, such as making use of the power of our business culture and the power of our capital markets in Greece’s bid to emerge from a decade of crisis. We know that the government has big plans and that U.S. companies are responding positively,” the official said.
The energy issue is expected to be a central topic of discussion at the prime minister’s meeting with Donald Trump as the U.S. backs Greece’s development into an energy hub and recognises the role it is called to play in promoting Europe’s energy security and energy diversification.
In addition, the White House official emphasised the importance of the fact that the EastMed Act was recently signed as a law of state and the announcement on the EastMed pipeline agreement. In this light, he referred to the importance the U.S. attaches to the 3 +1 cooperation (Greece, Cyprus, Israel + USA), and recalled the participation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As he explained, the U.S. consider that 3 +1 cooperation:
* Is a mechanism for enhancing energy security
* Promotes regional stability and economic growth in an area where there is a resurgence of high-power competition
The U.S. official stressed the high level of the talks between Athens and Washington on these issues, noting that the common interest of the two countries is to keep Turkey anchored in the West.
In this context, he said that Washington appreciates the Greek government’s efforts to keep open the lines of communication with Ankara, acknowledging that this is a clear signal that the Greek side wants to have a constructive neighbourly relationship.
“So, we are focusing on encouraging the steps Greece is taking and our common interest in helping to manage differences with Turkey in a way that does not harm our significant alliance within NATO.”
Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean
Calling on all parties involved to work together to resolve disputes, the White House official noted that President Trump has an excellent relationship with both the Greek prime minister and the Turkish president.
“Therefore, we prefer to focus on the things that unite us and pursue our common security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean region, rather than examine whether there are challenges,” he added.