Pivotal talks set for Washington

Pivotal talks set for Washington

The Greek government has high hopes for the outcome of a much-vaunted US-Greece Strategic Dialogue which is to take place in Washington on Thursday between senior Greek and American officials, focusing on regional defense, security and energy. 

As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with European Union counterparts in Brussels on Thursday to discuss budgetary issues and Brexit, his Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos is due in the American capital with the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell. 

Concluding a four-day visit to Greece at the end of last month, US Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy Elizabeth Neumann said her talks would provide an “important basis” for this week’s US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.

The dialogue is expected to focus on five key “pillars of cooperation” – defense and security, trade and investments, anti-terrorism policies, energy and the ways in which Greece and the US can contribute to stability in the area stretching from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans and the wider Black Sea region.

The US has made it clear at every opportunity that Greece’s strategic location is key to keeping Turkey anchored to a Western security system. Meanwhile Greece’s role in the Eastern Mediterranean has gained significance as energy and security concerns have accentuated US interest in the area.

Both sides have already agreed that the dialogue will be repeated next year with representatives from each country to meet regularly on key issues until then.

Diplomatic sources are describing the initiative as of historic significance for Greek-US relations and the prospects for them to be deepened.

Greece is keen to discuss the contentious Prespes name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which Washington has supported, and a trilateral summit between Greece, Cyprus and Israel to take place in Jerusalem on December 20, which the US is also backing.

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