WASHINGTON – Cooperation in the field of defense and energy security, as well as the shared commitment to defend democracy with a key NATO Ally will dominate the upcoming visit of the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to Greece.
Blinken will carry out a tour that will start in Germany, continue in Türkiye and end in Greece.
The head of the US diplomacy will arrive in Athens on Monday afternoon and he will meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. On Tuesday, the US minister will have a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Nikos Dendias.
The two ministers will launch the Fourth US-Greece Strategic Dialogue and joint statements will follow (press availability). Anthony Blinken will also meet on Tuesday with the leader of the main opposition Alexis Tsipras.
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried, in a press conference estimated that all current geopolitical developments will be discussed during Blinken’s contacts in Greece, adding that the Western Balkans accession process would probably be an issue.
Other issues on the agenda will be developments in Ukraine and Russia and the earthquakes in neighbouring Türkiye and Syria last week.
Donfried recognised the regional role played by Greece as a key member of NATO and the EU in promoting the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans.
“Greece is a valued NATO Ally of ours. It also is a key member of the European Union. And we’ve seen Greece consistently play a role in supporting the European Union’s enlargement more broadly in the Balkans. And so on North Macedonia, certainly Greece has been a champion of North Macedonia and other Western Balkans countries in terms of their pursuing that Euro-Atlantic future and seeking membership in the European Union,” she said.
In reply to a question about Greece’s aid to Turkey and the visit of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to the earthquake-stricken areas, Karen Donfried referred to the role of the two NATO allies, saying that the US wants the relations between the two countries to be at the highest possible level.
“Let me step back and say, of course Türkiye and Greece are both very much valued allies of the United States. As you know, the United States also has a presence in the Aegean, and so we are always interested in ensuring that relations between our two allies are as strong as they can be. And I think both countries have played important roles in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression, which has been so much of the focus of the past year,” she stated.
She also said that “it was moving to see Foreign Minister Dendias and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu together looking at the horrible destruction that the earthquake wreaked in Türkiye.”
“And I think, frankly, it reminded all of us of our shared humanity. And I think that really is what is called for at this moment. That’s what allies are for, that’s what friends are for. When one of us is in trouble, the rest of us go and do our best to help,” she added.
A State Department spokesperson had earlier said that the US welcomes Greece’s swift humanitarian support to neighbouring Türkiye, including humanitarian aid and the work of rescue teams as well as the Greek government’s support to the leadership and people of Türkiye in dealing with this tragedy which exemplifies humanity and the common need for solidarity.