The war in Ukraine and its global impact, especially on energy, will be a key part of the agenda of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ trip to the United States starting next Monday.
It is also expected that Mitsotakis will mention to US President Joe Biden Turkey’s recent ratcheting up of tension with Greece with its overflights over the Aegean; however, he is not prepared to let the issue overshadow his talks with Biden and other public official. Instead, the Greek premier is expected to focus on positive developments in bilateral cooperation on issues such as energy, the climate crisis and security.
Mitsotakis will head a large delegation of ministers and other government officials to the US. However, the highlight of his visit will undoubtedly be his address at a Joint Meeting of Congress on Tuesday, May 17, at 11 a.m. local time, at the invitation of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Mitsotakis’ speech, a rare occasion of a foreign leader addressing Congress, will capitalize on excellent bilateral relations, which have become much closer in the past decade. It will highlight the two countries’ similar views on issues of democracy and liberty, as well as Greece’s agreement with the Biden administration’s climate policies.
Congress also being the body that will approve or reject the sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey, Mitsotakis is expected to remind the representatives and senators of the fact that Turkey is using its current batch of F-16s for aggressive posturing against its neighbor and nominal NATO ally.
Mitsotakis’ visit to the US will take place days after the expected approval this week, by the Greek Parliament, of the five-year extension of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) with the US. The prime minister had insisted on the vote taking place before his trip. The MDCA confirmed the unprecedented usage of military bases by US forces in Greece at a critical time.
A few days ago, the US approved an appropriation of $50 million to be used to upgrade infrastructure at the NATO naval base in Souda, on the island of Crete.
This Monday, the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, Greece, Nikos Dendias, and Israel, Yair Lapid, along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss, in a videoconference, energy and security cooperation issues in the so-called 3+1 framework.