NEWS

Clinton sees opportunities in Greece

In a wide-ranging interview with Skai TV, aired on Monday night, visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to US interest in oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and in possible investments in the tourism and renewable energy sectors, saw opportunities for Greece in the broader region, and stressed the importance of Greece?s Socialist government seeking consensus with its political rivals.

The former first lady told Skai that efforts to locate energy deposits in the eastern Mediterranean were still in the early stages but were of interest to the US. She also highlighted the potential of Greece as a ?regional hub? for the transport of oil and natural gas.

Asked about possible investments by US firms, Clinton said she believed that there are ?great opportunities? and highlighted the tourism sector and the relatively untapped renewable energy market.

As reforms aimed at improving the climate for would-be foreign investors are implemented, Greece will become increasingly ?attractive? to investors, she said.

Clinton also commented on thorny diplomacy issues including a longstanding dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, saying that the Balkan state should not join the European Union before the row is settled.

Questioned about domestic politics in Greece and attempts by the government to secure cross-party consensus on austerity, Clinton said such efforts were crucial. She acknowledged the difficulties of getting rivals to sit down and talk but said, ?It is always the best approach.?

Before leaving Greece for India, Clinton met the leader of the main conservative opposition New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras.

The opposition leader expressed his party?s opposition to the involvement of private sector bondholders in a new rescue package for Greece.