US ties to Greece are ‘deep’ and ‘strong’, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman tells Kathimerini

Russian President Vladimir Putin underestimated the resilience of Ukrainians, “overestimated Russia’s capabilities and unwittingly rallied democracies and freedom-loving peoples against its brutal war,” says Gregory Meeks. [AP]

The strategic importance of the Greek port of Alexandroupoli in northeastern Greece, both strategically and in terms of energy, is underlined in this interview with Kathimerini by the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee , Gregory Meeks, who describes relations between Washington and Athens as “incredibly deep”. , strong and bipartisan.

He also expresses the view that these ties will not be affected by the midterm elections in the United States on November 8 for Congress, nor by the national elections which are expected to take place in Greece in the spring.

After all, in the relevant committees of both congressional bodies, the Republican leaders hold an equally skeptical view of Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s unpredictable behavior vis-à-vis their Democratic colleagues, while the opinion of the Majority leaders (Meeks in the House of Representatives and Bob Menendez in the Senate) is just as important in decision-making as that of the minority.

Regarding the prospects for the controversial sale of new F-16 jets to Turkey and upgrade kits for its existing planes, Meeks notes that Congress and the Foreign Affairs Committee he leads are considering requests in the context of safeguarding regional stability, as well as of course protecting the national interest of the United States.

Asked to comment on continued Turkish overflights over the Aegean islands, violations of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and Ankara’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric towards Greece, Meeks expresses concern for actions that , in his view, unnecessarily aggravate the climate of tension between two precious NATO allies. .

Last but not least, he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be defeated in Ukraine, while expressing his optimism about the performance of the Democratic Party, to which he belongs, in the upcoming midterm elections for Congress.

The port of Alexandroupoli is rapidly becoming a strategic hub, both in the military field and in the energy field. How do you see its contribution in the current crisis?

Yes, the port of Alexandroupoli is an incredibly strategic port both militarily and energetically. Economically, the port handles levels of business activity that should not be underestimated when considering global supply chain issues. On the energy front, as Europe seeks to wean itself off Russian energy sources, the port is proving crucial. From a military perspective, additional access for the United States and NATO allies in the Mediterranean provides greater security and stability in the region. These benefits of port are interdependent.

Lately, Turkish leaders have accused the United States of not being objective about Greece and Turkey. How do you respond?

United States foreign policy is based on our values ​​and on defending the national security of the United States and all of our allies.

Will the midterm elections impact Washington’s relationship with Athens and its broader approach to the region?

No. Fortunately, the strong ties and relations between Washington and Athens are incredibly deep, strong and bipartisan. We see it getting stronger under this administration and I don’t believe the midterm elections will change that trajectory.

“The House and my committee continue to monitor the situation and are concerned about any action that would unnecessarily escalate tensions between two key NATO allies.”

Similarly, do you think that the Greek national elections, scheduled for next spring, will change anything in bilateral cooperation?

My goal is to put the relationship between these allies above politics and we have succeeded. No, the partnership will remain hermetic.

How does Congress assess the maritime and energy agreements between Turkey and the government of Tripoli in Libya?

The committee continues to monitor the situation closely.

Will the transfer of new F-16s and upgrade kits for older ones to Ankara continue? And if so, will there be any conditions attached? There is an amendment in the House by Congressman Chris Pappas.

Congress and my committee have reviewed and continue to review all weapons cases with a holistic view of human rights, regional stability, and US national interests.

How does the US Senate view President Erdogan and his actions vis-à-vis Greece (overflights, aggressive rhetoric) and Cyprus (EEZ violations)?

The House and my committee continue to monitor the situation and are concerned about any action that would unnecessarily escalate tensions between two important NATO allies.

How do you see the situation in Ukraine developing? A possibility of an end to the war?

Fortunately, the Ukrainians were extremely brave and managed to defend their homeland, despite the heinous brutality that Moscow inflicted on them. Putin underestimated their resilience, overestimated Russia‘s capabilities, and unwittingly rallied democracies and freedom-loving peoples against his brutal war. He will lose.

Finally, let me turn to domestic politics and ask for your assessment of the House and Senate in the midterm elections.

It’s up to voters to decide now, but in my opinion, Democrats have proven that our leadership can deliver real results, and they will elect us to continue the important work of improving our economy and leading on the world stage. .

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The port of Alexandroupoli is ‘crucial’ in reducing dependence on Russian gas, Gregory Meeks has told Kathimerini English Edition (r) editor Tom Ellis.

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