Wednesday, February 21, 2024
 
 

White House finally schedules Washington meeting with Greek prime minister

Announcement ends weeks of speculation

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The White House announced on December 2 that President Donald J. Trump would be meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on January 7 in Washington. The announcement ended weeks of speculation about how and when the meeting originally scheduled for last September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and abruptly cancelled by Trump over the start of impeachment proceedings, would be recast.
As both leaders attended the NATO Anniversary Summit in London this week most of the speculation had focused on a side meeting happening there, and the lack of an announcement had generated concern in Athens. It should not be forgotten that Greece’s former leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attempted to make Trump’s abrupt schedule change a Greek political issue in September, claiming that Mitsotakis had not actually received a confirmation of the New York meeting, forcing the US Ambassador in Greece to rebut him publicly and to confirm the meeting had in fact been locked down.
Message to Erdogan
While the Greek public will now have a full month to be bombarded by the country’s plethora of “Americanologists” deciphering ad nauseum the deeper meaning of the January meeting and the sublime state of bilateral relations following the signature of an upgraded bilateral Defense Agreement in October, when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited, the timing of the announcement came after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US and before the NATO meeting in London. it sends a message directly to Ankara that Athens’ concerns about Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean are not to be treated lightly.
The announcement substantially bolsters Mitsotakis’ position in his December 4 meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who himself just returned from a White House meeting last month after causing NATO-wide furore over the maritime border Memorandum of Understanding Turkey just signed with the internationally-recognised Libyan government.
While details of the agreement with the Tripoli-based government of Fayed al-Sarraj have not been released publicly, the move is being viewed as an attempt by Ankara to claim rights over a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean, including parts that fall within Greece’s maritime jurisdiction, a issue that the Greek government intends to bring up as major debate point in London. On December 5, the Greek government acknowledged having finally received the agreement text that morning.

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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.

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