Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives in Washington for talks with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday with the central aim of reaffirming the strategic relationship between the two countries, entrenching Greece’s role as an emerging energy hub in the region. He will also launch a charm offensive with his address to a Joint Meeting of the US Congress on Tuesday following an invitation from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
According to close associates, Mitsotakis’ demeanor will not be that of a poor relation who expects American US arbitration or problem solving (although Turkey’s aggressive and revisionist strategy will be broached), but rather that of confidence emanating from Greece’s economic progress, as well as its significant military reinforcement.
In light of the above, Athens does not expect any strong security commitment from Biden, as this is after all encapsulated in the Greece-US defense agreement, and in the accompanying text of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In fact, Kathimerini understands that Mitsotakis will only dedicate “a few lines” to Turkey in his speech to Congress and will focus more on the strong historical ties of Greece and the United States, linked by democracy.
What’s more, special emphasis will be given do the strong relations between Greece and other critical players in the region, such as Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting with Biden comes at a critical geopolitical juncture, with the war in Ukraine in full swing, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again emerging as a factor of instability, with his challenge to the prospect of NATO’s Nordic expansion to include Finland and Sweden.
Mitsotakis arrives in Washington with two important positives: firstly, the fact that Athens took a clear position from the beginning on the Ukrainian crisis; and, secondly, the visit comes on the heels of new five-year defense agreement with the US that was ratified by the Greek Parliament on Thursday.
The scope and duration of the agreement are a clear message of Washington’s willingness to invest geostrategically in Greece.
Another key issue on the agenda is energy and Greece’s potential to become a hub for the transport of LNG transport from the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans and Southeastern Europe.