NEWS

PM to brief parties amid acrimony

pm-to-brief-parties-amid-acrimony

Amid acrimony between the government and main opposition SYRIZA over the outcome of his talks on Tuesday with US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to brief the leaders of opposition parties on Friday and Monday about the visit, as well as key foreign policy issues.

He will first meet with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras at noon, followed by Fofi Gennimata of the Movement for Change (KINAL) at 1 p.m.

He is then to receive the head of the far-right Greek Solution party, Kyriakos Velopoulos, and then the leader of MeRA25, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

He will brief the leader of the Communist Party (KKE), Dimitris Koutsoumbas, on Monday.

Deriding the visit as a “fiasco,” SYRIZA said it depicted Greece as “a sidekick of international developments” and that Mitsotakis “gave everything and got nothing in return.”

“The Greek prime minister’s visit to the US not only offered nothing to the country in a difficult moment of escalating tensions in the region, but resulted in an unprecedented fiasco,” the leftist party said in a statement.

“The image of the Greek prime minister watching President Trump give a press briefing for about 20 minutes on his own is not insulting to Mitsotakis, but to the country,” it said.

SYRIZA also focused its criticism on what it described as the government’s eagerness to upgrade bilateral defense cooperation between Greece and the US without asking for anything in return.

It also claimed that Mitsotakis supported Trump’s actions in connection with the execution of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

SYRIZA lambasted the government’s willingness to purchase F-35 fighter jets from America at a time when “it is known that the country is not financially capable of supporting such an aggressive weapon.”

Moreover, it also took issue with messages emanating from the government about a suspension of Chinese investment in 5G networks.

The criticism triggered a full-on confrontation, with a government source saying that “seriousness is needed at a crucial time when the prime minister is fighting to defend the country’s national interests.”

Government sources also bemoaned the fact that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras failed to keep his promise to put Greece’s national interests above petty partisanship.

Tension was also palpable during Wednesday's meeting of Parliament’s Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs, where opposition lawmakers exchanged barbs with Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.