US top diplomat to visit Greece during East Med dispute


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Greece next week following regional tensions with Turkey, Kathimerini reported.

Pompeo will meet the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to mark a “shared commitment to advance security, peace, and prosperity in the eastern Mediterranean and celebrate the strongest U.S.-Greek relationship in decades”, the Greek newspaper cited the State Department as saying in a statement on Thursday.

Greece is locked in a dispute with Turkey over the recent discovery of natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, which has enflamed ongoing tensions over maritime borders.

Turkey has sought to block Greek-led plans to develop the energy reserves in partnership with other Mediterranean countries, which Ankara says is in violation of its own territorial claims.

In an apparent show of support for Greece, Pompeo will “host energy sector business leaders for a discussion to highlight energy diversification and infrastructure projects”, the statement said.

Pompeo will also visit the Souda Bay naval base “to underscore the strong U.S. security partnership with NATO ally Greece”, the statement said.

The Washington Examiner reported last Friday that the United States has intensified preparations to withdraw from the İncirlik air base in Turkey and is considering in Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete as an alternative.

Pompeo’s trip is his second to Greece in less than a year and will also include visits to Italy and Croatia.



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