Obama sends strong message of support on debt, refugee issue, in meeting with Tsipras

Obama sends strong message of support on debt, refugee issue, in meeting with Tsipras

Warsaw, July 9, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras raised the issue of Greece’s debt during a half-hour meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, on Saturday.

The meeting, which was held in a very positive climate, was scheduled on the request of the U.S. President and reaffirmed the good cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries.

Concerning the debt, the prime minister noted the need to resolve the issue as the country needs investments and growth to exit austerity and the crisis. He also mentioned the positive contribution of the US on the issue and asked for the tight cooperation with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to be continued. Commenting on the International Monetary Fund, Tsipras said the European Union accepts its proposals for more measures but rejects those on debt relief.

The second issue raised, was the refugee crisis, with the prime minister describing the situation created by the presence of almost 60,000 refugees in the country, as well as the efforts made by Greece and the Greek people. He also stressed the important role played by NATO in managing the issue and the importance of continuing in the same direction. On the same topic, Tsipras pointed to the war in the region as the main reason behind the refugee flows and the need to end it.

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The third topic discussed was the Cyprus issue, with the Greek leader saying that both communities on the island could find a fair and viable solution on the basis of the UN decisions, adding that occupying forces must withdraw and guaranties must be abolished.

Moreover, Tsipras referred to the important reform initiatives of the government as well as his willingness to fight decisively the problem of corruption and vested economic and political interests. To this end he asked for the support and cooperation of the US.

On his side, Obama said he understands the Greek position on debt relief adding that the Treasury Secretary will visit the country for talks on the issue.

On the refugee issue, the U.S. President hailed Greece’s stance and role in tackling the problem and urged Tsipras to continue in the same direction, while he also mentioned the country’s strategic importance as a regional power and country that maintains a dialog with all the powers in the wider region.

Commenting on Cyprus, Obama said his country will use its influence in every direction to achieve a solution.

According to information, the U.S. President also commented on Tsipras’ meetings with the Russian and Chinese Presidents, in an indication of the country’s upgraded role, as Athens sees it. He also mentioned the excellent bilateral cooperation in defence and proposed a meeting of the two relevant ministers.

The two sides also discussed Greece’s active diplomatic role as a force of cooperation that maintains constructive relations with all the countries of the wider region.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos.

Source: AMNA – Photo: Andrea Bonetti