Having already reneged on promises not to allow American military operations and take Greece out of NATO, Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras was lauded by US Vice-President Mike Pence for helping the US and defense alliance.
A White House statement about their phone conversation said that, “The Vice President congratulated the Prime Minister on Greece’s progress toward recovering from the economic crisis and thanked him for Greece’s role as a pillar of stability in the region, its NATO contributions, and its military cooperation with the United States.”
Tsipras’ party is anti-NATO and anti-American for the most part, with hard core elements opposed to allowing the US to keep a base, in Crete, in operation but he broke his vow on that as well as to reverse austerity measures.
There was no report whether they discussed the US preparing to supply Turkey, which is provoking Greece in the Aegean with constant violations of airspace and waters, with 100 F-35 fighter jets amid fears they could be used against Greece.
Tsipras also is moving, as part of a deal to give away the name of the ancient Greek province Macedonia in a new composite for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – to be called North Macedonia – to lift a Greek veto keeping that country out of NATO.
The name deal was brokered by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, an American lawyer, amid speculation Greece was pressured to give in so that FYROM could be admitted to NATO as a bulwark against Russian interests in the Balkans.
“The leaders expressed regret that the Conference on Cyprus closed last week without a settlement agreement, and the Vice President underscored continued US support for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation,” the White House said.
That was in reference to continued failures to reunify Cyprus, divided since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion that led to occupation of the northern third. Negotiations fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkey insisted on keeping an army in the occupied territory and wanted the right to militarily intervene.
Pence extended to Tsipras an invitation to visit Washington, and the leaders agreed to meet in the near future, it was reported.