President Trump hosted the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, on Tuesday afternoon at the White House for a joint press conference. After facing a major economic downturn, Greece is finally emerging from its eight-year financial crisis.
The country is making efforts to execute its debt relief plan through increased investments and continued growth in its transportation and energy sectors. Tsipras stated that “we look forward to attracting U.S. investments” along with affirming that Greece’s friendship with the U.S. is still strong and “based on values that we jointly share.”
The statement comes as a surprise due to Tsipras’ criticisms against Trump back in March of 2016, calling the ideas he espoused during the campaign “evil.” When asked about those past statements, Tsipras invalidated his previous comments by stating that “I want to confirm that the meeting we had was very productive, not a moment did I feel threatened at any time.”
Tsipras discussed main objectives of his nation, with recovering from the economic crisis alongside the IMF and EU being at the forefront.
“Our strategic relationship with the U.S. is becoming more important,” he said.
Trump has confidence in the small nation amidst its bailout negotiations, and commended Greece for being one of the few NATO countries to actually work towards its defense spending requirements.
The President also expressed gratitude towards the Prime Minister for intending to honor the United States at an upcoming International Trade Fair in Greece.
In regards to strained relations between Greece and Turkey, the Prime Minister was confronted with questions about Greece’s continued tensions with its NATO opponent. Both countries have a long history of geopolitical disagreements, including Turkey’s opposition to gas drilling in Cyprus earlier this year. The U.S. defended Cyprus in their drilling attempts.
“Despite our concerns regarding Turkey, we continue to support the Turkish course. We do believe that Turkey must remain in NATO,” Tsipras said.
Trump concluded the meeting by stating that Americans “have great confidence in Greece as a nation. We’re going to be friends for many many years.”