Washington, D.C.- Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is visit the United States in her capacity as Greek foreign minister and chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). She is expected to meet on Wednesday with her counterpart Hillary Clinton. She will also be received by Vice President Jo Biden, whom she met in Germany, 15 days ago.
Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that the visit will be launched on Monday, Feb. 23 in Washington D.C., where she will address the Brookings Institution, on the issue of “Collective Security in the 21st Century – Building New Bridges”.
On Tuesday, Bakoyannis will meet with the president and members of the Helsinki Committee on OSCE issues.
Later on the same day, she will meet with the chairman and members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations followed by a meeting with the chairman and members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
On Feb. 25, she will meet with her counterpart, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and attend a reception in her honor by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns.
The second part of her visit will concern contacts in New York, where on Friday she will brief the Security Council on the Greek Presidency of OSCE.
The foreign minister’s meetings will focus on OSCE issues as well as on issues of mutual interest, both international and regional, such as the Middle East and the Caucasus. Additionally, issues of Greek interest, including the situation in the Balkans, relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue will be discussed, according to foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos.
According to diplomatic sources other issues include U.S. concerns over increased terrorist threats in Greece and the inclusion of Greece to the Visa Waiver Program.
“Greek-US relations can acquire a new substance, depth and width,” Koumoutsakos said, adding that the new US government allows for realism and hope.
“The messages and decisions made to date by the new U.S. administration on foreign policy issues have been seen in a positive light not just by Greece but in general, thus confirming the need, if you will, for certain adjustments.
What comes out of this discussion and public statements is that greater emphasis will be given to the process of dialogue, and that there will be less unilateralism – compared to the past. This is also a positive basis for Greek-U.S. relations and for their course and the way in which they will be shaped from now on. There are strong foundations, based on traditional friendship and cooperation.
This is the general framework, and it is within this framework that we are making a positive assessment. That is, that we can give Greek-U.S. relations new substance and new depth and new scope. This is the point of departure. It is a realistic and hopeful start, at the same time”, Koumoutsakos added.