US VP Biden and PM Tsipras talk refugee crisis, program review, Cyprus and debt relief in Davos

Greece’s economic program, the refugee crisis, Greek-American partnership in relation to investments, energy issues, the Cyprus issue and finding a solution on FYROM’s name were the focus of a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, during a meeting with in Davos on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

According to an announcement from the prime minister’s office, Biden hailed Greece’s stabilizing role in Europe and the wider region and noted that the first program review must be completed in time to help the dynamics of the Greek economy. On his side, Tsipras welcomed Biden’s initiatives in strengthening Greek-American economic relations and the further increase of U.S. investments in Greece.

Concerning the refugee crisis, the U.S. official noted Greece’s efforts to manage the problem with humanity and effectiveness, while he stressed the need to further activate the international community on this issue.

On energy, Biden welcomed the completion of the procedures concerning the Trans Adriatic Pipleine (TAP) and the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) and discussed the prospects for transferring ING via Greece. In this direction, the two sides noted the emergence of Greece into an energy hub for new gas transport routes to Europe.

On Cyprus, they highlighted the potential to strengthen the dynamics acquired by the bilateral talks and the need for a just and lasting solution on the basis of UN resolutions and the status of Cyprus as a member-state of the EU. Tsipras stressed that the sense of security for the people of Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, cannot be secured by “anachronistic options”, such as the guarantees.

Finally, on the dispute over FYROM’s name, both sides stressed the importance of continuing talks between Greece and its northern neighbor under the UN Special Envoy, Matthew Nimetz and hoped the elections in FYROM will have a positive effect on the country’s stability and the creation of a climate of trust for an acceptable solution.

Following the meeting, the White House said in a press release the two sides also focused on the importance of discussing debt relief with the country’s creditors. “The leaders agreed on the importance of moving forward as quickly as possible on Greece’s economic reforms, including serious discussions with creditors on debt relief,” the White House said in a statement.

Prime Minister met also with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and their talks were focused on the Greek program and the refugee crisis.

According to government sources, the Prime Minister stressed the need to complete on time the evaluation of the program, whereas on the refugee issue they discussed the elements of the crisis highlighting the effort made by Greece to handle the refugee flow.

Mr. Alexis Tsipras had also a meeting with EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

As government sources said, they both stressed the need to timely complete the evaluation of the Greek program, while they also discussed the social security reform.