US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Greece on Feb. 20 and 21, the State Department announced Wednesday.
The top American diplomat will meet his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
He will launch the fourth round of the US-Greece strategic dialogue during the second day of the visit.
Greece and the US held the third Greece – United States Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC on October 14, 2021.
A meeting with the former premier and main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras was also announced.
Defense, energy and Turkey will dominate Blinken’s visit to Greece
The US side said defense cooperation, energy security and “our shared commitment to defend democracy” are on the agenda.
Last May Greece ratified the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) with the US that foresees US Armed Forces operating and training at military bases in Volos, Alexandroupolis, Litochoro, and Souda Bay.
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 in the agenda will be developments in Ukraine and Russia and the earthquakes in neighboring Turkey and Syria last week.
In reply to a question about Greece’s aid to Turkey and the visit of 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.
“It was moving to see Foreign Minister Dendias and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu together looking at the horrible destruction that the earthquake wreaked in Türkiye,” she said.
“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.
Blinken will arrive in Greece from Turkey
Blinken will arrive in Greece from Turkey, where he’s scheduled to tour quake-devastated areas in that country’s southeast, as well as subsequent high-level talks in Ankara.
According to the State Department, the top US diplomat will “…discuss continued US support to Türkiye and the Turkish people after the devastating earthquakes, as well as ways to further strengthen our partnership with Türkiye as a valued NATO ally.
“Secretary Blinken will also thank the Government of Türkiye for its support for cross-border aid to affected areas of Syria.”
Secretary Blinken will begin his mini-European tour in Germany on February 16, where he’ll arrive to attend the Munich Security Conference.
At the conference, he will participate in a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings to discuss continued support for Ukraine, assistance to Turkey and the Syrian people, and US commitment to transatlantic security and a rules-based international order.
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