Second round of Greek-US Strategic Dialogue discussions to commence on Monday

Second round of Greek-US Strategic Dialogue discussions to commence on Monday

The second round of the Strategic Dialogue between Greece and USA begins on Monday, October 7, 2019. The Strategic Dialogue was launched in December 2018 in Washington, DC.

The second round follows the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Greece and the upgrading of the Defense Agreement with the US via the signing of the Protocol for the Amendment.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will signal the commencement of the operations alongside the US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker.

It is worth noting that for USA the Strategic Dialogue comprises a process of enhancing their cooperation with countries with specific geostrategic importance. In this context, a series of bilateral consultations will be held between high-ranking Greek and US officials on a wide range of issues, including commerce, the economy, investments, security, energy, culture and education.

More specifically, during the second round of Strategic Dialogue regional co-operation and security issues will be discussed in depth, including inter alia the Western Balkans, Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean. It is evident that a discussion in the light of Turkey’s continuing violent activities within the Cypriot EEZ is of greater importance. In addition, Greece’s role as a source of stability in the wider region, as well as the forms of cooperation it has developed with a number of countries in SE Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, will undoubtedly be the focus of attention, whereas the presence of the US Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for European and Asian affairs Philip Reeker is essential.

Additionally, the Greek-US Strategic Dialogue will include security and defense issues. The already close cooperation between the two countries within the NATO framework has now been upgraded through the updated Defense Agreement, and both sides are expected to underline their excellent operational cooperation. Anti-terrorism mattera, cyber-security, cross-border crime issues and more are also expected to be raised.

Talks will also revolve around energy issues and in particular energy security, as Greece is being increasingly asigned a critical role as a “crossroad” of energy routes to the wider region of Southeast Europe. The development of the South Corridor, the TAP, the IGB, the LNG terminal at Revithoussa, the planned floating storage and re-gasification unit in Alexandroupolis (FSRU), as well as the EastMed Major pipeline, the planned LNG terminal and the LNG terminal co-operation with the US on renewable energy will also be mentioned.

Promoting trade, investments, entrepreneurship and innovation through closer cooperation between the two countries will also be a thematic of the discussion, as a positive dynamic of investment opportunities and support towards initiatives of this nature from the American side has grown in our country lately. The reboot of the Greek economy has already created new prospects for bilateral cooperation and for attracting new investments in our country, as Greece is gradually getting back on the American investors’ radar. Innovation in digital technologies, the promotion of start-ups, as well as audiovisual productions are also areas with particularly valuable scope for further cooperation.

In addition, the international dimension of the refugee / migrant issue as well as the developments on Greece’s eastern border, a rather hot topic, will also be brought up.

Strengthening cooperation in not-so-urgent fields, such as interactions between the two peoples, promoting tourism between Greece and the US, and Cultural heritage, will also be featured in the discussion.

Finally, the Strategic Dialogue includes a series of actions aimed at further deepening the already excellent relations between the two peoples, such as museum cooperation programs, student exchanges, scholarship programs and more. It is noted that it has been agreed to activate two international scholarship programs, the Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX), while our country is also participating in the Fulbright Foundation scholarship program.

From the Greek side, in addition to Foreign Minister N. Dendias the Ministers of Citizen Protection and Education, M. Chrysochoidis and N. Kerameos respectively will also attend the operations of the Dialogue, alongsise the Minister of Digital Governance K. Pierrakakis, the Minister of Culture and Sports, L. Mendoni, Deputy Minister responsible for Migration G. Koumoutsakos, as well as the Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Economic Diplomacy and Extraversion, K. Fragogiannis, the Deputy Minister of National Defense A. Stephanis, the Deputy Ministers of Education S. Zacharaki and V. Digalakis, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments K. Papathanassis, Deputy Minister of Development in charge of Research and Technology affairs Ch. Dimas, Minister of Agriculture K. Skrekas, Minister of Health V. Kontozamanis, Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental Affairs G. Thomas, General Secretaries and institutional representatives.

The Strategic Dialogue comprises at this point the formal framework in which the Greek-US relations are developed. The high level of cooperation between the two countries will undoubtedly continue to expand into new areas, and the results of this significant effort on both sides have already begun to provide results. /ibna