Nikos Pappas to visit Washington

Nikos Pappas to visit Washington

Washington, September 15, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

Greek State Minister Nikos Pappas will visit the White House on Friday to meet with a senior official of the National Security Council (NSC), as reported by the journalist Thanassis Tsitsas in

The visit had not been announced until late last night and was kept by the Greek side away from the spotlight. NSC spokesman, Mark Straw, in response to a written question by did not confirm nor denied the information, while at the same time refrained from discussing the agenda of the meeting. Converging information of says that the State Minister will have on noon Friday one hour appointment with a senior official of the NSC, continues the story of a Greek reporter.

Nikos Pappas will travel to Washington Friday on his way to New York, coming from Montreal, Canada, where he participated in the “Global Progress 2016” forum.

According to information from Thanasis Tsitsas, the Friday appointment at the White House was scheduled by Mr Pappas himself, bypassing the established diplomatic channels, something which traditionally did the two former prime ministers, Andreas and George Papandreou. Since the rise of SYRIZA to power, the State Minister maintains direct contacts with members of the powerful NSC, a body which to a great extend shapes the US foreign policy.

This will be the second visit of the State Minister at the White House within just five months. Last May, a few days before the completion of the first assessment, Mr Pappas had organized a trip to the US, in which among other things had a series of meetings in Washington with top officials of the US government, among them, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland – responsible for European Affairs – Finance Minister Jack Lew, the deputy US Treasury in charge of international affairs, Nathan Sheets and the Director of European Affairs at the National Security Council, Charles Kupchan.

Given that the US is in an election period and in a few weeks the Obama tenure will come to an end, the question arises whether Pappas’ visit has only communication features or is a substantial appointment in view of the latest developments surrounding the fate of the Greek debt, energy projects, the situation in Turkey and developments in the Cyprus problem.

It is also noteworthy that the visit Pappas in the White House coincides with the multilevel information exchange and discussion which takes place during this period in Washington (State Department and think tanks) to the new US ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, who very soon will assume his new duties. In the discussions that have taken place so far have dominated the issues of the Greek economy, energy, the overall situation in the eastern Mediterranean, the Euro-Turkish relations and developments in the Cyprus problem.

The American diplomacy constantly faces Greece, with all its problems, as an oasis of stability in a quite complicated and troubled geopolitical environment and in no way wishes its destabilization. The Tsipras government in turn has embraced from the beginning of its mandate the view of the American foreign policy that “geopolitics prevails over the economy”.

Washington appreciates the geopolitical value of Greece, as it believes it can be enhanced and its value be multiplied by playing a balancing role in the region, provided the Tsipras government proceeds fundamentally with the economic affairs of the country and implements the required structural reforms.