Alexis Tsipras tip-off to emphasise Greeces geopolitical capacity during Washington visit that has caught numerous by surprise
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, will convene Donald Trump on Tuesday in public officials see to Washington that has caught many by surprise.
The meeting comes amid growing US tensions with Greece’s Nato competitive Turkey.
” This is an important fulfill for both countries ,” said Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political liaisons under George W Bush.” Relation are better now than they were in decades past when vociferou anti-Americanism reigned Greek politics .”
Tsipras is an unlikely visitor to the Oval Office. The leftist captain, a once-militant Marxist, was openly hostile to Trump’s run for the US presidency, saying publicly:” I hope this bad act doesn’t befall us .”
Meanwhile, Trump has said little about Greece, preferring instead to heap praise on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s increasingly autocratic chairperson. But rapidly degenerating relations with Ankara have motivated Washington to reappraise ties.
” Considering all the problems with Turkey, Greece is a relatively stable ally in south-eastern Europe ,” said Burns.
The irony has not been lost on statesmen that while Tsipras and his leftist comrades did much to stop anti-Americanism alive while in opposition, Athens has proceeded out of its route to support the western alliance since his two-party government presumed superpower in January 2015.
Defence minister Panos Kammenos, who heads the small right-wing Independent Greeks party, the coalition’s junior spouse, is unabashedly pro-American and pro-Trump.
” After the[ Yanis] Varoufakis histrionics the governmental forces discover the importance of ensuring that soft power, how to triumph acquaintances and affect beings in a quiet way ,” said Syriza MP Costas Douzinas, referring to the former ministers of finance who represented Greece during Syriza’s first six months in office.
Douzinas was of the view that Greece was haunting a multi-faceted foreign policy that included forging strong ties not only with the US and Israel but the Palestinian authorities, Egypt, Russia, China and Iran.
” At a moment when Turkey is becoming erratic and even irrational at times, Greece shows the importance of commitment to values and acquaintances ,” said Douzinas, who chairs the Greek parliament’s standing committee on national defence and foreign relations.
Burns, who acted as US ambassador to Greece between 1997 and 2001, said Tsipras would need to be able to assure Washington that he was not beholden to Russia and China on key world-wide topics. Beijing has invested heavily in the country since the crisis began.
Athens has acquired preferences in the Trump administration for apportioning around 2.38% of gross domestic product to defence- the second highest rate in Nato after the US- despite the debt-stricken nation’s prolonged financial crisis and vulnerable economic state.
Tsipras is expected during his encounter with Trump to emphasise Greece’s geopolitical persona by be concentrated on Souda, the tactical deepwater naval basi in Crete that is the centre of operations for the US sixth fleet in the eastern Mediterranean.
Although US officials insist that Souda cannot supersede Incirlik, the air base in Turkey “its also” central to American operations in the Middle East, the facility has become ever more important for allied forces involved in Syria and anti-Isis airborne safaruss in the region.
It is also hoped the White House talks will play a decisive role in kickstarting the Greek economy by helping to complete Greece’s third and final bailout inspect with creditors that have remained bankruptcy at bay.
With the recession-hit country showing the earliest signs of retrieval, Tsipras’s goal is to departure the most recent EUR8 6bn recovery bailout programme by August next year where reference is officially expires.
But much varies depending on the attitude of the International Monetary Fund and the stance of the Trump administration over whether Athens’ EUR3 00 bn obligation mountain should be written off.
As “the worlds largest” stockholder in the IMF, the US has effective veto power over many of the Washington organisation’s decisions.
” A central issues for the US is whether to urge long-term debt relief for Greece by its European and international creditors ,” said Burns, who schools finesse and international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.” It is difficult to see Greece climbing back to prosperity and growth without it .”
Aides said Tsipras will appeal to Trump to urge the IMF to show more flexibility towards the nation which has been forced to endure years of gruelling austerity, fund slice and excise hikes in exchange for bailout stores.
” If they can get Trump to say debt relief in public it will be a huge coup ,” said Alec Mally, a former senior US diplomat who had treated Greek circumstances at the US State Department.” Up to now the Trump administration has been content to leave the debt relief issue wholly in the handwritings of Greece’s European creditors and the IMF .”