April 24, 2024

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Mitsotakis-Blinken “list” in Chania: Anat. Mediterranean, Gaza, defense cooperation

Mitsotakis-Blinken “list” in Chania: Anat.  Mediterranean, Gaza, defense cooperation

Discussions between Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Anthony Blinken are expected to move on four lines today in Chania, where the US Secretary of State will be present for a few hours, coming from Ankara. The first stop will be for the head of US diplomacy, Souda, then the Mitsotakis family home in Akrotiri, while Giorgos Gerapetritis and Alexandra Papadopoulou will also head to the island of Crete.

In addition to the private discussion between Mitsotakis and Blinken, a working meeting is scheduled for the afternoon in which the Greek Foreign Minister, the Deputy Foreign Minister, and the Director of the Prime Minister's Diplomatic Office, Ambassador Anna Maria, will participate. Bora and Special Advisor for International Policy and Public Diplomacy to Prime Minister Aristotelia Bellonis.

Greece wants to highlight the country's geostrategic importance in the wider region

It is expected that international and regional issues will be discussed during the meeting. The focus will first be on the latest developments in the Middle East and the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Secondly, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean will be analyzed, thirdly, developments in Ukraine will be discussed, and fourthly, an analytical conversation on defense cooperation between Greece and the USA is scheduled.

Intense developments

Blinken's visit comes at a time when the Middle East region is witnessing intense developments that constitute new conditions for regional stability and security, and also after Blinken's meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. The interest of the Greek side is to constantly highlight the geostrategic importance of Greece in the wider region. It is not a coincidence that government sources consider Blinken's visit and the meeting with the Prime Minister and the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chania an acknowledgment of Greece's role as a “pillar of stability and security” and as a “reliable and essential partner and ally” in its efforts. The region is southeastern Europe.

The same sources comment that Greek-American relations are at a historically high level, recalling, among other things, the notable events of 2022: Mitsotakis' speech to Congress in May of that year and the meeting with Joe Biden at the White House as well as the vote on amending the Joint Defense Cooperation Agreement. Between Greece and the United States (MDCA).

The F35 and F16

Against the backdrop of Blinken's visit, there is the willingness of Athens and Ankara to remain steadfast in the path of normalization between Greece and Turkey, as well as the US-Turkish deal to accelerate Sweden's accession to NATO in exchange for the F-16 aircraft that Turkey wants. To acquire and upgrade. For its part, Greece is interested in F35 fifth-generation fighters.

In general, with regard to equipment, government sources say that Greek equipment programs cannot be linked “to programs of other countries,” meaning on the one hand that Greece will continue its policy of strengthening and arming its armed forces and on the other hand that Greece and cannot dictate policy to the United States. Which should be followed in relation to defense procurement for other countries. The Greek side notes that “Greece has submitted its request to purchase an F35 squadron and is awaiting the official start of the process by sending a letter to Congress approving the sale.”

Tuscodia and delicious food

Blinken is not the first foreign official to visit Mitsotakis' home in Akrotiri, as Mike Pompeo preceded him, among others. The latter spent two evenings at the Prime Minister's residence in Chania in 2020 for discussions without the strict protocols traditionally found at working meals.

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Accompanied by Tsikodi and traditional dishes, Mitsotakis also activated the so-called “family diplomacy”, recalling moments from the past from the courtyard of the same house in Chania: when German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was the guest of Konstantinos Mitsotakis in Akrotiri and when Marika Mitsotakis was setting the table with dolmadaki for the American president George Bush and his wife Barbara.