US Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Athens in mid-May

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to conduct an official visit to Greece in mid-May, diplomatic sources told Kathimerini after Kerry’s meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on Tuesday.

The two men discussed a range of regional and financial issues during their 40-minute meeting, which was reportedly conducted in a “warm atmosphere.” Avramopoulos briefed his American counterpart on Greece’s efforts to emerge from its economic crisis, according to sources who said that Greek government officials will seek to renew Washington’s trust in Athens’s ability to play a stabilizing geopolitical role in the region.

Much of the conversation between the two diplomats focused on unrest in the Middle East and Syria, where fears of destabilization have been growing. The recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey was also discussed, as well as bilateral relations between Athens and Tel Aviv. Both men stressed the need for stability and security, according to sources who pointed to growing American interest in transforming the broader region into an energy hub.

Avramopoulos also broached the thorny issue of United Nations-mediated talks aimed at resolving a dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia regarding the latter’s official name, with the Greek minister reportedly expressing concern about Skopje’s stance in the talks.

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