Trump Congratulates Mitsotakis, U.S. Puts Arm Around Greece

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Greece’s newly-elected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a telephone call and said Washington could keep close cooperation that ironically had gotten tighter under the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of previous Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who had been anti-American and anti-NATO.

While Tsipras shed his Leftist cloak to work so closely with the United States that ties between the countries were said to be the closest ever, and with the SYRIZA government even thinking of expanding in Greece a U.S. military presence he said he would end.

Mitsotakis, the New Democracy leader whose late father held the office from 1990-93, easily won July 7 snap elections and said he would be pro-business, attract investors, cut taxes, and bring law and order.

“The two leaders expressed their mutual interest in working together and continuing strong cooperation between the United States and Greece,” the White House said of the NATO allies.

But it was Vice-President Mike Pence who was the first from the U.S. to congratulate Mitsotakis, doing so before Trump. During a 20-minute conversation, the two officials discussed bilateral issues and agreed to keeping good relations between Greece and the U.S. it was reported.

According to a statement from the Premier’s office, said Kathimerini, Mitsotakis told the U.S. President that the key priorities of his administration were to combat bureaucracy and attract investment scared off by a SYRIZA 29 percent corporate rate and hardcore elements in the Leftists opposed to any foreign businesses.

Calling Greece as “one of our closest allies,” a State Department spokesperson said the U.S. wants to work with Mitsotakis - as it did with Tsipras, repeating the usual diplomatic language when a new government is elected - to “increase regional stability, boost bilateral trade and diversify regional energy options.”

One of Greece’s best friends in Congress, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, joined in the chorus of support for Mitsotakis as he began his government, also congratulating the New Democracy chief.

“The strong bond between our countries has so much possibility and I look forward to working with the new government on supporting our shared values, promoting security cooperation under the NATO umbrella and advancing economic prosperity in both of our countries,” he said.

“When I visited Athens in April, I spoke about the abiding bonds between the U.S. and Greece given our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and rule of law, as well as our vibrant diaspora of Hellenic descent. In a time of great challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, the U.S.-Greece relationship is more critical than ever for our shared security and stability. I look forward to the continued development of US-Greece ties under Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ leadership,” he said.

The U.S. has moved closer to Greece as relations have soured somewhat with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who sent two energy vessels into Cypriot waters to look for oil and gas despite being warned off by Washington and the European Union.