Greek PM briefs main opposition chiefs after US trip

Greek PM briefs main opposition chiefs after US trip

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday briefed the heads of Greece’s two biggest opposition parties – leftist SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras and center-left Movement for Change’s Fofi Gennimata – on the results of his recent visit to the United States and his meeting with President Donald Trump and other US government officials in Washington, where mounting tension with Turkey topped the agenda.

Coming out of the meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tsipras said he “was more concerned about developments than about the climate of the meeting” between Mitsotakis and Trump, which some saw as being overshadowed by reporters’ questions regarding developments in Iran and Iraq and on the American domestic political front.

Tsipras later said that he asked the prime minister to postpone the ratification of a bill foreseeing the renewal of a defense agreement with the United States, “until we get tangible assurances of support for our sovereign rights.”

“The crucial question for every Greek citizen today, regardless of party preference, is whether our strong allies will press Turkey not to escalate these provocations and will support us in case the Turkish side steps up these provocations,” Tsipras said.

On a different note, Gennimata appeared to accuse the prime minister of failing to call a meeting of political leaders before his four-day visit to the United States so that he could present a “national policy line” with regards to the spike in tension with Turkey in the wake of Ankara’s maritime border deal with Tripoli.

“I insist on a political leaders’ council on the national line,” Gennimata reportedly told the prime minister, who responded that he does expect such a meeting to reveal any significant differences in the parties’ stance toward the issue.

“It is time to come to an understanding; they cannot take us for granted,” Gennimata said in comments after the meeting, responding to Mitsotakis' remarks.

“We need to send Greeks a message of unity and confidence. The country needs to project preparedness and determination. Everyone, including our allies, need to know that we are prepared to defend our sovereign rights by any means,” she said. 

Mitsotakis’ afternoon schedule consists of meetings with the leaders of Greek Solution, Kyriakos Velopoulos, and MeRA25, Yanis Varoufakis, while his last briefing will take place on Monday morning, with Dimitris Koutsoumbas of the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

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