Athens tries to feel out Trump

Gov­ern­ment at­tempts to get sense of US pres­i­dent-elect’s po­si­tion on key is­sues days be­fore he as­sumes of­fice

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As Don­ald Trump pre­pares to as­sume the US pres­i­dency on Jan­uary 20, Athens is turn­ing its fo­cus to the day af­ter and on the stance Wash­ing­ton may adopt with re­gard to GreekTurk­ish re­la­tions, the Cyprus dis­pute and to In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund’s (IMF) role in the coun­try’s bailout pro­gram.

With Wash­ing­ton keep­ing a some­what low pro­file in re­cent weeks over re­gional de­vel­op­ments, the Greek gov­ern­ment is ea­ger to come to grips with the so-called Trump doc­trine, which, re­port­edly, re­mains a mys­tery to Athens.

In­deed in his re­cent trip to New York, Greek For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias sought to sound out Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy in the post-Obama era and held talks at Trump Tower with in­com­ing Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn on Jan­uary 6.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, Flynn showed great in­ter­est in Greece’s per­spec­tive with re­gard to the sit­u­a­tion in the Eastern Mediter­ranean.

Con­trary to what Trump said through­out the US elec­tion cam­paign about the need for Wash­ing­ton to shift its fo­cus back on the US, Kotzias left New York with the im­pres­sion that it is keen to deepen its in­volve­ment in geopo­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in the wider Eastern Mediter­ranean.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that Flynn showed a keen in­ter­est in Greece’s aim to strengthen part­ner­ships with Is­rael, Cyprus, Egypt and Le­banon, as well as Kotzias’s am­bi­tion to form a se­cu­rity or­ga­ni­za­tion in the Eastern Mediter­ranean, which he men­tioned at a se­cu­rity con­fer­ence held in Rhodes last Septem­ber.

The meet­ing in New York also high­lighted the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ten­tion to ele- vate Egypt into a pil­lar of re­gional sta­bil­ity.

How­ever, Trump’s pro-Egyp­tian stance and his in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­par­ent grasp of Greek po­si­tions doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily im­ply a neg­a­tive stance to­ward Tur­key.

In­deed, Flynn came out in fa­vor of the ex­tra­di­tion of Turk­ish self-ex­iled cleric Fethul­lah Gulen back to Tur­key for his al­leged role in the botched coup at­tempt in the neigh­bor­ing coun­try in the sum­mer. On the other hand though, Flynn sup­ports Kur­dish au­ton­omy in Syria and Iraq, which Tur­key ve­he­mently op­poses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.