Wednesday, February 21, 2024
 
 

Secretary of State Pompeo begins short Balkan swing

With Washington in turmoil, Pompeo heads to Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece

- Advertisement -

Despite the turmoil in Washington which has practically everything except his current European trip in focus, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed Italy on 4 October for a brief swing through Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece.  This leg of his travels has a strong NATO and defense theme, as he is due to sign an important new defense agreement in Athens and visit NATO’s 29th member, Montenegro, and NATO hopeful member number 30, North Macedonia.
With this in mind, Pompeo made extremely brief stops on 4 October in both of the newest NATO members, treating North Macedonia as if it had already entered the alliance formally despite the small complication of a number of countries not yet having completed their own rather slow national ratification processes.  This is expected by the end of this year or early 2020.
In Podgorica, Montenegro Pompeo met senior government officials, against the backdrop of being the NATO alliance’s newest full member, number 29.
In North Macedonia, Pompeo stopped at the town of Ohrid instead of the capital Skopje but met the full range of government officials there.  Pompeo visited the 13th century church there, Perybleptos, or Holy Mother of God Monastery complex, on the banks of Lake Ohrid.
In Greece, Pompeo is expected to meet with senior officials including Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and sign a new defense agreement which will modify and upgrade the existing bilateral Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) dating from 1990.  He is also set to deliver a speech on bilateral relations and the prospects for greater trade and investment.
Although he will have departed Greece, Pompeo’s presence also sets the stage for the second meeting of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue which both countries launched in Washington in 2018.  As expected, regional stability, both in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean, will be the main focus but energy and economic issues will also be given high priority in view of the change of government in Athens in July.
This high-level multi-sectoral discussion is due to get underway on 7 October.  Unfortunately, the positive atmosphere on the bilateral commercial front has been dampened considerably by news of the latest round of WTO-authorised US tariffs on EU products after the WTO ruled against the EU in the Airbus case, some of which hit agricultural exports from Greece.

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

CEO / co-founder and Executive Director for Global Economics and Southeast Europe at NE Global Media.  Former US diplomat with previous assignments in Eastern Europe, the UN, SE Asia, Greece, across the Balkans, as well as Washington DC.

Latest

Romania sees Black Sea renewable hub, gas production growth

Ambitious projects and cross-border cooperation between the countries in...

Qatar, Kazakhstan to boost economic ties, energy projects

Qatar and Kazakhstan discussed economic cooperation between the two...

Bulgaria, Romania push regional renewable energy projects

Bulgaria is working with its neighbors to boost energy...

Kremlin disinformation efforts in Africa illuminated

The U.S. State Department released a report detailing Kremlin...

Don't miss

Romania sees Black Sea renewable hub, gas production growth

Ambitious projects and cross-border cooperation between the countries in...

Qatar, Kazakhstan to boost economic ties, energy projects

Qatar and Kazakhstan discussed economic cooperation between the two...

Bulgaria, Romania push regional renewable energy projects

Bulgaria is working with its neighbors to boost energy...

Kremlin disinformation efforts in Africa illuminated

The U.S. State Department released a report detailing Kremlin...

EU law banning greenwashing to empower consumers for the green transition

Companies can no longer market their goods using unfounded...

Investors Forum brings the Middle Corridor into EU-wide focus

Huge investment numbers were thrown around in Brussels January 29-30 at the Global Gateway Investors Forum for the European Union – Central Asia Transport...

UNRWA blasted for allegations that staffers supported Hamas

The United Nations agency that manages support for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on January 26 that it is starting an investigation into several employees...

Canada and aiding the democratic cause in Ukraine

Though the funding of Ukraine’s war against Russia remains the main topic of the American Congress, Ukraine’s relationship with its other key Western partners,...

US designates Yemen’s Houthis as terrorist organization

The Biden administration announced on January 17 that it is re-designating the Houthis, an Iranian-backed, Yemeni Shia Islamist group, as a terrorist organization. The...

Myanmar’s instability deepens as the world watches silently

Myanmar’s stability has eroded significantly since the 2021 military coup. But the coordinated attacks by multiple separatist and pro-democracy groups in late 2023 has...

Record-high American LNG exports reinforce EU energy security drive

US liquefied natural gas, or LNG, exports reportedly hit monthly and annual record highs in December, positioning the United States to potentially become the...

Joint Statement on the Trilateral United States-Japan-Republic of Korea Indo-Pacific Dialogue

The inaugural Trilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue between the United States Japan and South Korea was held on January 5, with this new format presented as...

Viking Link undersea cable to power up UK and Denmark

On December 29, Danish transmission system operator (TSO) Energinet launched the Viking Link, the world’s longest electricity interconnector, establishing a subsea cable connection across...