Mutual Compliments, Verbal Support and Multi Billion Deals for Tsipras and Trump

Screen Shot 2017 10 18 at 10.29.08 am

Screen Shot 2017 10 18 at 10.29.08 amby Aggelos Skordas

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was welcomed at the White House on Tuesday afternoon for an official meeting with the US President Donald Trump. The two leaders had a brief on camera discussion while they later held a private meeting followed by a working lunch. Among other issues, Tsipras and Trump, focused on the economy -with an emphasis on Greece’s future and its attempts to gain access to the markets and exit the crisis, regional security and developments, defense, while energy and bilateral trade and financial cooperation were also high on the agenda.

Addressing the joint press conference at the White House the US President underlined that his country support a “responsible debt relief” for Greece, hailed its economic recovery and pointed to “immense opportunities” for investment in the country. “We're also making great strides in our economic cooperation. The American people stand with the Greek people as they recover from the economic crisis that has recently afflicted their nation”, he said, adding that he has encouraged Alexis Tsipras throughout his continuous implementation of reforms. “A strong and flourishing Greece provides immense opportunity for American trade, investment and job creation”, Trump told the press. The US President also thanked Greece for hosting US Naval Forces in Souda Bay, as well as for being one of the few countries that keep their military spending above NATO's target, totaling 2% of its GDP: “I also commend Greece on being one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least two percent of GDP on defense. My administration has also informed Congress of a potential sale to Greece to upgrade its F-16 aircraft. This agreement to strengthen the Hellenic Air Force is worth up to 2.4 billion dollars and will generate thousands of American jobs.” Additionally, the US President expressed his appreciation on Greece’s contributions to energy security through its support of the TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) and the GBI (Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector) and pointed out potential bilateral cooperation based on liquefied natural gas exports from the United States. He finally declared himself proud as the United States will be the honored country at Thessaloniki International Fair. “This historic business and trade exhibition will showcase American technology, enterprise and innovation on the world stage”, he concluded.

Screen Shot 2017 10 18 at 10.28.51 am

The Greek Prime Minister, for his part, characterised the US as a valuable strategic partner and ally underlining that the bilateral relations are currently the best they have been since the end of World War II, as they are based on mutual respect. Greece’s strategic relationship with the US is “more important than ever”, Tsipras said, adding that, among others, the aim of his visit is to attract investments. The Greek PM highlighted Greece’s role as a pillar of stability and democracy in an unstable but important region. Even though Greece is a country of dialogue, “it will always defend its sovereign and territorial rights”, he said urging Turkey to stop its provocations in the Aegean adding that Athens always stands for a just and sustainable solution for all Cypriots. At the same time he expressed the Greek government’s support towards Turkey’s European future, noting though that it should respect international law. “I want to assure you that the meeting was very productive, I never felt threatened. On the contrary I felt there is a fruitful perspective in order to overcome any differences that may exist and to see the common ground that is very important for the relations of our two peoples that are traditional and historical and for our common goals”, he replied when asked about his initial opposition on Donald Trump’s candidacy for the US Presidency.

Prior to his visit to the White House, the Greek Prime Minister was given a tour of the infamous Blair House, the official US Presidential guest house in Washington DC. “At the historic Blair House which Abraham Lincoln visited often and where important events of American history took place,”Tsipras tweeted on his official account minutes before entering the White House and meeting Donald Trump.

The Greek Premier is scheduled to meet with the US Vice President Mike Pence tomorrow and deliver a speech at the Brookings Institute think tank before heading back to Athens.The title of his address is: “Greece in a new era: Pillar of stability and economic hub in the crossroads of three continents”.

Screen Shot 2017 10 18 at 11.04.50 am

The “Greek Comeback” and IMF Lagarde’s Compliments

On Monday Alexis Tsipras, who is on an official visit to the US from Saturday October 14th until Wednesday October 18th, held a meeting with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde in Washington. The Greek Prime Minister highlighted that the efforts of Greeks are starting to pay off after years of recession. “After several years of economic recession Greece has turned a page” he characteristically noted, adding that it is of utmost importance to conclude the third program review as soon as possible. On her behalf, Christine Lagarde, praised Greece’s progress on reforms: “I was very pleased to welcome Prime Minister Tsipras to the IMF today. I complimented him and the Greek people on the notable progress Greece has achieved in the implementation of difficult policies, including recent pension and income tax reforms. We had an excellent and productive meeting. The IMF recently approved in principle a new arrangement to support Greece’s policy program. Resolute implementation of this program, together with an agreement with Greece's European partners on debt relief, are essential to support Greece’s return to sustainable growth and a successful exit from official financing next year” Lagarde said.

On Saturday, during a meeting with 12 Greek-American Chicago based business men and investors activating in the sectors of energy, innovation, computing, high technology, aircarriers, real estate, funds and start-up, Alexis Tsipras signaled the Greek comeback: “Greece does not only leave behind the crisis but also the model that led it to that”he underlined, according to government sources.Ahead of his meeting with Trump, Tsipras told a weekly Greek newspaper that “the growing dynamics of our strategic relationship with the United States -especially in the economy, energy and defense/ security- is crucial”.

It should be noted that the Greek Prime Minister is accompanied by the Ministers of Economy, Dimitris Papadimitriou, Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Information, Nikos Pappas, Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, National Defense, PanosKammenos, the Alternate Minister of Finance, George Chouliarakis and Deputy Foreign Minister for the Diaspora, Terens Quick.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.