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Trump Meets With Greek Prime Minister to Discuss Strategic Cooperation and Security

President Donald Trump welcomed Greeces Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the White House on Tuesday, applauding Greece for its economic recovery, while Mitsotakis sought further expansion of economic and strategic ties with the United States.

During a press conference held before the bilateral meeting with Trump, Mitsotakis stressed the importance of strengthening the strategic relationship between the two countries, as Greece is “a reliable and predictable ally [of the United States] in a complicated part of the world.”

He also emphasized the recovery of the Greek economy and the economic growth that the country has achieved. The growth can be attributed to Greek government policies that have proven successful in the United States, such as lowering taxes and deregulation, said Mitsotakis. He also invited American companies to invest more in Greece and contribute to the economic growth of the country.

According to ING senior economist Paolo Pizzoli, “Greek GDP expanded by 0.6 percent quarter on quarter in seasonally adjusted terms and by 2.3 percent year on year in non-seasonally adjusted terms, but the Greek economy is still in search of a sounder growth pattern.”

Greece suffered a debt crisis between 2008 and 2018 but received bailout loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. In 2018 the rescue program ended but until all loans are repaid the countrys budget is under strict austerity measures and is overseen by its creditors.

Cooperation in Defense

Mitsotakis expressed Greeces interest in participating in the F-35 program. The F-35 is a multinational program led and mainly funded by the United States to develop and produce a family of cutting edge combat aircraft.

Greece recently signed a contract with Lockheed Martin for a major upgrade of its F-16 fighter aircraft and, according to Mitsotakis, after the completion of the upgrade in 2024 Greece would like to participate in the F-35 program. As a NATO member Greece is currently spending more than 2 percent of its GDP on defense—a standard adopted by all NATO members in 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis,(C) and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis, (L) attend a joint news briefing, in Athens, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The leaders of Greece, Israel and Cyprus met in Athens to sign EastMed pipeline deal. (Yorgos Karahalis/AP Photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis,(C) and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis, (L) attend a joint news briefing, in Athens, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The leaders of Greece, Israel and Cyprus met in Athens to sign EastMed pipeline deal. (Yorgos Karahalis/AP Photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) Greeces Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (C), and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis, (L) in Athens on Jan. 2, 2020. (Yorgos Karahalis/AP Photo)

EastMed Gas Pipeline Deal

Mitsotakis pointed out that “that the agreement signed between Turkey and Libya [that divides the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and Libya claiming water off Greek islands] infringes upon Greeces sovereign rights and essentially causes great concern and instability in the region.” He is seeking support from the United States to ensure that “these types of provocative agreements are not being put into place.”

Mitsotakis also talked about increasing the Greeces and Europes energy security and the plans to diversify natural gas sources. Greece will expand its technical capabilities to import liquefied natural gas from the United StRead More – Source

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