US-Greece strategic dialogue opening Thursday in Washington, DC

The opening of the strategic dialogue between the United States and Greece at the American capital on Thursday is a particularly significant moment, a high-level State Department official said at a briefing for Greek correspondents in Washington.

The United States believes this is a very important dialogue, he said, and the time has come for it to go through. He also noted the dialogue would not be held at theoretical level but on a series of steps completed between the American and Greek sides previously, including those leading to and held at the Thessaloniki International Fair (where the US was the honored country).

As for how Turkey will view the closer collaboration between the two countries, the official clarified that this collaboration is not a “zero-sum equation” and the fact that the United States is strengthening its collaboration with one NATO ally should never be taken as a sign it is distancing itself from another. He said that Greece is not a minor player, “it is Plan A” and it has achieved this position on its own.

Having left behind the introversion of the first economic crisis years, the State Department spokesman said, Greece is now ready to “resume its proper regional role,” and the United States will continue supporting it in its economic recovery. He added that the Prespes Agreement with FYROM also provided an example of Greek leadership and he commended the efforts expanded on handling the migration crisis.

Greece has a key role to play in energy security, and can contribute to energy differentiation in Europe both in kind and source of energy, so that Europe and NATO “are not held hostage by unfriendly powers,” the State Dept. official said.

In terms of American investments in Greece, the spokesman clarified that the American government cannot intervene, as investors make decisions independently, but he asserted that Washington will highlight and promote investment opportunities in Greece. He added that the US government would be particularly happy if the Greek government adopts the kind of reforms and policies it needs to do to make the Greek market more attractive to investors. There was a beginning in such talks between the two countries at the Thessaloniki International Fair, he said.

In terms of the schedule, the two-day strategic dialogue opens at 10:00 a.m. local time Thursday (today) with meetings on the following six themes: Regional affairs and economy; Defence and security; Rule of law and ombating terrorism; Commerce-Investment and innovation; Energy cooperation; and People-to-people ties.

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos will be meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 4:00 p.m. local time, at the key meeting between the two countries.

On Thursday morning, Katrougalos is scheduled to meet with the US President’s National Security advisor, John Bolton.

On Friday, the Greek minister will attend a working breakfasat with businesspeople and investors, to discuss how to attract investments in energy, digital technology and innovation. He will also address an invitation-only event held by the American Enterprise Institute think-tank.

The US-Greece strategic dialogue will conclude with a joint communique issued that will detail all discussions held, focus on the future, and outline the sectors and action plan that the two countries could undertake.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the Greek delegation will also be composed of the Deputy Minister of Economy and Development St. Giannakidis, Deputy Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Information L. Kretsos, the Head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Admiral E. Apostolakis, Secretaries General and other officials drawn from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Environment and Energy, Citizen Protection, Education, as well as from Enterprise Greece.