FM: US, Greece on the same page

Kotzias wraps us Wash­ing­ton trip seek­ing to high­light coun­try’s geostrate­gic value

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias told re­porters shortly be­fore re­turn­ing to Athens from a visit to Wash­ing­ton yes­ter­day that the US will con­tinue to sup­port Greece in its re­la­tions with the eu­ro­zone and its de­mand for debt re­lief from its cred­i­tors.

Dur­ing his two-day trip to the US, Kotzias sought to high­light Greece’s value as a bas­tion of sta­bil­ity in a volatile area and as a prospec­tive re­gional en­ergy hub.

Kotzias said he was con­fi­dent that lead­ing US of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edge Greece’s geostrate­gic value, and that there was “agree­ment over the great need for sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in the re­gion.”

More specif­i­cally, in his fi­nal meet­ing be­fore head­ing back to Athens, with US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Lt Gen H.R. McMaster, Kotzias out­lined the im­por­tance of the ties Greece has nur­tured, along with key ally Cyprus, with Is­rael, Egypt, Le­banon, Jordan and the Pales­tinian au­thor­ity. He also re­ferred to ef­forts to boost ties with Ar­me­nia and Ge­or­gia. With re­gard to the stalled UNbacked peace talks to re­unify the is­land of Cyprus, Kotzias told McMaster that the root cause of the prob­lem is Turkey’s mil­i­tary pres­ence on the is­land and Ankara’s in­sis­tence that a set­tle­ment should in­clude a sys­tem of third-party guar­an­tees.

Cyprus, he said, must be spared the pres­ence of for­eign troops, and Turkey must un­der­stand that it can­not de­mand “spe­cial priv­i­leges of in­ter­ven­tion.” Mean­while, Deputy De­fense Min­is­ter Dim­itris Vit­sas down­played re­cent spec­u­la­tion that Greece is pre­par­ing for huge arms deals. “I hear of a dance to the tune of bil­lions. There is no such dance,” he said, in­sist­ing that pro­cure­ments will re­main within Greece’s fis­cal lim­its.

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