GR US

Now, US Wants to Ratchet Down Greece-Turkey Tensions

Αssociated Press

File- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, hosts a reception for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the State Department, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON - After US President Donald Trump - meeting in Washington with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis - wouldn’t commit to intervening to stop Turkish aggression in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would act.

Pompeo said the US has plans for a “diplomatic initiative” to bring down the tension between Greece and Turkey but wouldn’t say what it was as Trump offered only vague, general support for Athens.

Speaking to Kathimerini after the Mitsotakis-Trump sit-down, Pompeo said the initiative will be launched soon to address growing friction between Greece and Turkey following the signing of a deal between Turkey and Libya dividing the seas between them, claiming waters off Greek islands including Rhodes and plans to drill for energy off Crete.

Sources not named told the paper that the US and Greece will have discussions on how to proceed with Trump backing Erdogan but wanting to keep good relations with Greece, after the renewal last year of a military cooperation deal and wanting a bigger military presence.

Greece, the US and Turkey belong to NATO, which said it wants no part of the trouble between Greece and Turkey although Turkey bought Russian S-400 missile defense systems that could compromise the security of the defense alliance.