Greece said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will raise the issue of Turkey’s provocations in the Aegean with President Biden at the meeting of the two leaders in the White House on Monday.
Government spokesperson Yiannis Economou noted that the “issue of Turkish provocations will be raised; after all, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already raised the issue of Turkish overflights above Greek territory as an issue that undermines and endangers the cohesion of NATO, at a time when stability is required.”
Mitsotakis briefed NATO in April on the recent upsurge in overflight violations by Turkey of its airspace in the eastern Aegean.
The Greek Premier announced that he spoke to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and briefed him on Turkey’s provocative behavior.
Mitsotakis, in his second visit to Washington as prime minister, will meet the U.S. President on Monday. On Tuesday, he is due to address the U.S. Congress.
Mitsotakis to address the U.S. Congress
“Such an honorary invitation is extended to foreign leaders extremely rarely,” Economou said.
“The leaders of countries that are strategic partners of the United States—such as Israel, Australia, India and the United Kingdom—or prominent personalities, such as Nelson Mandela or Lech Walesa, have so far addressed the US Congress,” he added.
The spokesman added that bilateral issues will also be discussed in the framework of the Greece-US strategic partnership, including the cooperation of the 3 + 1 scheme.
Ukraine and energy in the Biden-Mitsotakis agenda of talks
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is expected to also dominate talks in Washington said Economou. Economou said that “Greece has taken a clear and unequivocal stance from the beginning, demonstrating in practice its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its support for international law by participating in the European and Allied response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
He added that there will be a discussion on energy, as Greece can become a hub for gas and clean energy transport from the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans and SE Europe.
“It can actively contribute to Europe’s independence from Russian fossil fuels, but also to the diversification of energy routes and to Europe’s energy security,” he said.
The government spokesperson stressed that the prime minister will meet with Biden and address Congress not only on behalf of Greece but as a representative of Hellenism.
“He will speak as the prime minister of a confident country that is a reliable ally and a factor of security and stability in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and southeastern Europe,” Economou said.
Economou also referred to the agreement on mutual defense cooperation between Greece and the United States, which was ratified on Thursday in Parliament.
He commented that it is “an agreement with a huge international impact. This is, as the prime minister stressed, an agreement which constitutes a vote of confidence in Greece as a stable factor of stability in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and southeastern Europe.”
The full schedule of Mitsotakis’ visit to Washington
Monday, May 16th (Athens times)
– At 2:30 p.m., Mitsotakis will be interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
– At 5 p.m., he will take part in an open discussion with Washington Post journalist David Ignatius at Georgetown University.
– At 10 p.m., Mitsotakis will meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House.
– At 12 a.m., he will attend a reception in his honor given by the American president.
Tuesday, May 17th (Athens times)
– At 4:40 p.m., Mitsotakis will visit the US Congress for a meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
– At 6 p.m., he will address the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives.
– At 7 p.m., Mitsotakis will attend a reception in his honor given by House Speaker Pelosi.
– At 2 a.m., he will attend a dinner with representatives of Greek-American advocacy organizations.