Pompeo to visit Greece to discuss reducing tension in the eastern Mediterranean

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Washington Sunday to Greece It will call for a “de-escalation of tension” in the eastern Mediterranean and encouragement of dialogue with Turkey.

On Monday, Pompeo will visit Thessaloniki (northern Greece), where he will meet his counterpart Nikos Dendias, the first leg of a mini-European tour that will also head to Italy, the Vatican and Croatia.

Pompeo will meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday in Crete, and visit the NATO naval base in Khaleej Souda.

The tension has been at its most intense for weeks between Athens and Ankara, which are fighting over areas in the eastern Mediterranean believed to be rich in gas and oil. On Tuesday, the two countries, members of NATO, and the United States announced the resumption of bilateral negotiations soon.

“The tension in the Eastern Mediterranean must be reduced,” a senior US official told reporters before this tour, stressing that Pompeo “expressed his deep concern,” adding, “He also wants to be present after the recent positive developments and prospects for resuming the dialogue.”

The official stressed the need to “reduce the risk of accidents” and “refrain from taking any unilateral action that fuels tension,” calling on Greece and Turkey to reach an agreement.

He explained that Washington “encourages all countries to settle issues related to maritime border demarcation peacefully and in accordance with international law.”

It was learned from the US State Department that Thessaloniki’s visit is a message addressed to the Balkans about Washington’s will to invest in the region.

Pompeo will visit Rome on Wednesday and Thursday to meet Italian officials, and to discuss efforts by the Donald Trump administration to persuade European allies not to accept the Chinese Huawei group to develop the fifth generation network (5G).

In the atmosphere of the trade war between China and the United States, the US President waved the security threat, accusing Huawei of being a spy tool for Beijing.

Pompeo will participate in the Vatican in a meeting on freedom of belief organized by the US embassy to the Holy See.

Here, too, he will warn of the “brutality” of China against its minorities, including Muslims, as he concludes the tour Friday in Dubrovnik, Croatia.



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