Washington (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis) – U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard, asked during his address at the Woodrow Wilson Centre here to comment on reactions expressed regarding the decision taken by President Barack Obama to visit Turkey and not Greece, said that Greek-U.S. relations are not determined by relations with third countries.
He further assessed that Greece had every reason to desire the strengthening of Turkey and its rapprochement with Europe.
Speckhard said that the new U.S. administration places emphasis on cooperation in the framework of multilateral approaches and international organisations, something that must satisfy Greece.
Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, which is a priority for the U.S. and NATO, he said that it concerns Greece directly as well, since 25,000 Afghan illegal immigrants entered Greece illegally last year, out of a total of 140,000.
Speckhard also expressed optimism that the issue of the visa waiver programme for Greeks visiting the U.S. will have a favourable conclusion soon, since negotiations on two out of the three relevant documents have been completed and those concerning the third are under way.
He reminded that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis have termed the issue in question a priority.
Lastly, on the question of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Speckhard said that it is an issue in which the U.S. does not intervene, except to the degree that the parties interested request some facility, underlining that the issue is being handled in the framework of the UN by mediator Matthew Nimetz, who is among the few who are aware of the issue in depth.