US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Athens, the northern port city of Thessaloniki and the island of Crete next week in the context of a trip starting on Sunday that will also include stops in Italy and Croatia.
“Secretary Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Dendias to renew our shared commitment to advance security, peace, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and celebrate the strongest US-Greek relationship in decades,” the US State Department said, announcing the visit on Thursday.
Pompeo will also be traveling to the northern port city of Thessaloniki, to “sign a bilateral science and technology agreement, as well as host energy sector business leaders for a discussion to highlight energy diversification and infrastructure projects in Greece.”
He will then head down to Crete, where he will visit the Souda Bay naval base, “to underscore the strong US security partnership with NATO ally Greece,” the announcement added.
In a post on Twitter, Pompeo said he was “looking forward to discussing important trade, security, and religious freedom issues with my counterparts in Greece, Italy, the Holy See, and Croatia next week.”
Pompeo’s visit to Athens comes amid efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey over maritime boundaries and energy exploration rights.