Samaras woos investors and diplomats on US trip

Away from domestic upheaval as he rounded off a six-day official visit to the US, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras continued efforts to woo potential investors Thursday following talks with high-ranking US diplomats including Vice President Joe Biden in Washington.

The premier dined Thursday with executives of Dow Chemical, IBM, MasterCard, Time Warner, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and ADM and, according to sources, there was cautious optimism expressed about investment prospects in Greece as the economy shows signs of stabilizing.

Earlier Thursday Samaras met with several senators from the Republican and Democratic camps for talks that reportedly touched on both political and economic affairs.

Greece’s efforts to attract investment from American firms was one of the key topics on the agenda of talks at the White House late on Wednesday between Samaras and Biden, sources said. The two men also reportedly discussed possible American support to Greek efforts to curb illegal immigration, a factor believed to have contributed to the meteoric rise in popularity of the ultra-right Golden Dawn. Washington has expressed concern about a spike in violence and intolerance linked to Golden Dawn and earlier this week the State Department said it backed the Greek government’s tough stance vis-a-vis extremism.

Talks between Biden and Samaras also touched on an ongoing bid to reunify Cyprus ahead of the scheduled relaunch of United Nations-mediated talks in October.