Gov’t mulls im­pact of Trump win

Of­fi­cials say they don’t ex­pect change of stance on is­sues of debt re­lief, Cyprus and Greece’s role in re­gion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials yes­ter­day sought to play down the pos­si­ble ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as US pres­i­dent vis-a-vis Wash­ing­ton’s stance on the prospects of debt re­lief for Greece, the Cyprus prob­lem and Greece’s role in the broader re­gion.

“Noth­ing sug­gests that the po­si­tion of the new Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment as re­gards the debt and Cyprus will change,” a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said.

Last night Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras sent a let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing Trump and re­fer­ring to “the tra­di­tional ties of friend­ship be­tween the Greek and Amer­i­can peo­ple on the ba­sis of com­mon prin­ci­ples of democ­racy, rule of law and re­spect for hu­man rights.” The let­ter also ex­pressed Tsipras’s in­ten­tion to deepen bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion “for the ben­e­fit of our two peo­ples, peace and re­gional sta­bil­ity.”

Early yes­ter­day, when it was clear that Trump had won, a gov­ern­ment source said au­thor­i­ties had been pre­pared for both even­tu­al­i­ties. The source added that Trump’s elec­tion would clearly lead to “changes on the US do­mes­tic scene and the in­ter­na­tional geopo­lit­i­cal sys­tem,” adding that Athens was “mon­i­tor­ing th­ese closely.” The same source ex­pressed con­cern over “is­sues re­lat­ing to hu­man rights and mi­nor­ity rights.”

Greek of­fi­cials were keen to in­sist that Trump’s elec­tion did not re­duce the sig­nif­i­cance of a sched­uled visit to Athens next week by out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, even though the con­ti­nu­ity of an­other Demo­cratic leader would have been an ob­vi­ous ad­van­tage to the left­ist-led coali­tion. A gov­ern­ment source said Obama’s visit is still “of mas­sive im­por­tance” in view of Greece’s sec­ond bailout re­view and the debt talks that are sup­posed to fol­low as well as “the fact that Greece re­mains of great sig­nif­i­cance to Amer­ica’s for­eign policy.”

Later in the day, a Tsipras aide con­ceded that one could not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of the new US ad­min­is­tra­tion “choos­ing to turn in­ward and down­grade the in­ter­na­tional in­ter­ven­tion­ist role of the US.”

Re­buff­ing claims that the gov­ern­ment failed to fos­ter ties with Trump, the Greek For­eign Min­istry said that during a visit by For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias to New York in Septem­ber, Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, a Greek-Amer­i­can ad­viser to Athens, met Ge­orge Tz­itzikos, a Greek-Amer­i­can ad­viser to Trump.

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