OPINION

Opinion

. ..During his meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in early October, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou informed his American counterpart of his intention to mobilize in the Arab and, more generally, the Muslim world and take advantage of Greece’s traditionally good relations with these states. In this context, Papandreou has already visited Syria and will visit Iran tomorrow, a visit which will be closely monitored by Washington. State Department officials emphasized that the USA would like to see Papandreou exploit his contacts with Tehran and convey three messages to the Iranian political elite: First, that they should not oppose the peace process in the Middle East; second, that they should cease the reinforcement of the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist organizations which operate in Lebanon and the West Bank; and third, to stop building weapons of mass destruction. Papandreou is trying to act as a bridge between Washington and Tehran. This is not an easy endeavor. Should he manage, however, he could upgrade Greece’s role and gain geo-strategic benefits. The war in Afghanistan and the convergence between the interests of Washington and Tehran – which are both opposed to the Taleban regime – prepares the ground for a rapprochement between the two. Such a development could have long-term benefits for Greece as regard its relations with Turkey, as the gradual restoration of US-Iranian ties will reduce Turkey’s strategic importance and role. The clear reinforcement of the private character of the new bank giant will force governments to be more diligent in the economic sector, moving further away from the statist logic into which they often lapse when faced with economic hardship.