The US gave its verbal support to Greece during the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Athens.

In joint statements made with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Saturday, Mr Pompeo pledged that the US will offer clear and indisputable guarantees to support Greece regarding the Turkish aggressive stand in the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr Pompeo noted that USA understands the risks and is aware of the activities taking place.

“We are working to get the parties, everyone, to de-escalate and find the outcomes that are mutually agreeable,” he said.

The US official noted that “We’ve make clear that operations in international waters are governed by a set of rules. We have told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable and we will continue to take diplomatic actions to make sure that we do, as we do always, ensure that lawful activity takes place.”

“We want to make sure that rules govern international exploration in the Mediterranean Seas’ energy resources and that no country can hold Europe hostage,” he said.

Greek PM’s meeting

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also met with Mr Pompeo and asked for the USA’s contribution in addressing the Turkish provocations against Cyprus and Greece.

“Turkey’s recent activities in the plot 7 violate Cyprus’ sovereignty rights,” Mr Mitsotakis said.

Mr Mitsotakis referred to Ankara’s extreme rhetoric noting that Turkey’s activities do not comply with the international law and with the good neighbourly relations.

READ MORE: International calls for Turkish drilling to stop: EU cuts funding and considers more sanctions

Defence cooperation

Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos issued an announcement regarding his meeting with Mr Pompeo on Saturday.

According to a ministry announcement, Greece and USA’s volition for the further strengthening of their cooperation in the sectors of defence and safety was reaffirmed during the meeting. The two underlined their wish for the enhancement of the bilateral cooperation for the promotion of safety and stability in the eastern Mediterranean as well as for the effective addressing of the common provocations and threats in the wider region.

They also discussed the prospects and opportunities created by the new Greek-US agreement (MDCA) for the deepening of the bilateral collaboration in defence and technical defence sector with emphasis on the role and the development prospects of the Hellenic Defence Industry and the US investments in infrastructures and supplies with aim this project to be also beneficial for the national economy.

READ MORE: United States relations with Greece and Cyprus

Mr Panagiotopoulos said that special reference was made to the Greek initiatives for the development of trilateral forms of regional defence cooperation with countries of the region with aim the safety, the stability and the prosperity of the countries of the region.

Protests surrounding the visit

Police clashed with protesters during a rally against the visit of the American official to Athens to sign the renewal of the United States-Greece Defense Cooperation Agreement.

The rally kicked off at Syntagma Square with protesters marching to the US Embassy, where fires were set to the US and NATO flags.

Demonstrators also vandalised the Harry Truman statue on King Constantine Avenue.

The riot police fired tear gas at the protesters but there were no arrests or injuries.