US official in Athens to discuss security, East Med, Balkans


The US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, R. Clarke Cooper, arrived in Greece on Wednesday to hold talks on developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

On Wednesday evening, Cooper met with Defence Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos with whom he discussed issues of defense cooperation as part of the the expanded Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA).

Panagiotopoulos also raised the issue of security in the eastern Mediterranean and problems with Turkey’s activities and reiterated Greece's position that there can be no exploratory talks under threat.

According to a State Department press release, Cooper will “hold consultations with senior civilian and military officials in Athens on efforts to promote peace and stability, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans.”

He will then will travel to the Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, one of the key locations of US-Greece defense cooperation, following the expanded Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA).

Cooper was welcomed by US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt.

The visit to Greece is part of Cooper’s travel to the region, and specifically to Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Poland on October 14-24.