A meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and US President Donald Trump took place at the White House in Washington on Tuesday. Mr Mitsotakis, accompanied by his wife Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotaki, were greeted at the White House by Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
The meeting with the press kicked off with Mr Trump referring to Greece as a “reliable ally” in the Balkans, whereas Mr Mitsotakis said that this collaboration would continue. Mr Trump pledged that the two countries would continue “doing a lot” together. “We’re going to be meeting, talking, and negotiating a lot of deals,” Mr Trump told the press.
He also congratulated Greece for its rapid economic development.
Journalists questions focused on the assassination of Qassem Suleimani in Iraq. Mr Trump referred to the Iranian major general as a “monster” and dubbed his death a good thing for most countries. He said his country is prepared for all possibilities, including war.
Asked about F-35 program which Mr Mitsotakis said Greece is “very much interested” in participating in, Mr Trump said that a number of agreements would be made with the Greek delegation.
Regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocations and whether Turkey’s agreement with Libya “infringes upon Greece’s sovereign rights”, Mr Trump said that the situation with Libya was a “mess” and said that he would work towards finding a solution.
He said that a departure of the US army from Iraq would not be a positive development at this stage.
Speaking of his impeachment, he said that the US had become a “laughing stock to the world” and is looking forward to clearing his name.
US President Donald Trump hailed Greece as a “reliable” ally in the Balkans as he welcomed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House on Tuesday.
Greek PM at the Atlantic Council
Earlier, Mr Mitsotakis had addressed the Atlantic Council think tank of international affairs in Washington on Tuesday.
He acknowledged his arrival to the US “at a turbulent time, but also at the best point in Greece-US relations” and noted how the Greek economy is reacting favorably to reforms legislated and pursued by his government.
Mr Mitsotakis underlined making an early repayment of the country’s loans to the IMF after his government won the July 2019 national elections.
He then referred to the potential purchase of F-35 fighter jets, when the country’s budget allows for it.
The Greek Prime Minister also emphasized his firm support of the NATO alliance and proceeded to condemn Ankara’s recent policy in the region and beyond. “I made it clear in London that it is unacceptable for one ally to provoke another ally, yet Turkey continues to provoke, and the issue should be discussed again in the alliance,” he said.
Concerning energy policy, he praised the recent signing of the EastMed gas pipeline agreement in Athens as a milestone in Greek-American relations, and stressed how this is a significant accord not only for Greece and the signatory countries, but also for Europe, as it would cover its energy needs for the next 30 years. He also said he wanted to make sure it is clearly understood that no one is ruled out from this agreement, and that Greece does not, as he said, stand in Turkey’s way.
He then mentioned that the “Turkey-Libya so-called ‘agreement’ cannot produce anything of legally accepted stature, as it is an agreement legally unfounded, null and geographically absurd,” he noted.
“But we are inclined to keep all communication channels with Turkey open,” he added.
“If Turkey agrees that we must resolve our differences over the maritime zones decisively, then we can go to The Hague, but even then the condition is to respect international law and recognize that our only difference in the Aegean concerns the continental shelf.”
“We will not accept any violation of our sovereign rights,” he stressed.
On the EU prospects of western Balkan countries, Mitsotakis said that “the European road of the western Balkan countries is in our favor (…) but as far as Albania is concerned, we have made it clear that the rights of the Greek ethnic minority there should be respected.”
Mr Mitsotakis called for a de-escalation of tension in the Middle East following the killing of top Iranian army commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a targeted US bombing.
“We have close relations with the Arab world, but we do not forget who our allies are,” he said.
He referred to the deepening of strategic cooperation with the US, and pointed to intraparty support.