Pompeo in Athens: No country can hold Europe hostage

Mike Pompeo and Kiriakos Mitsotakis

 A “positive contribution” from the United States expects Greek PM Kiriakos Mitsotakis as Turkey is calling into question the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus through its recent attempts to drill for gas in waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. Mitsotakis met today US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who came to Athens yesterday evening for a two-day visit.

Mitsotakis told Pompeo that Turkish moves south of the island in recent days were a “flagrant violation” of Cyprus’ sovereign rights, Reuters reported.

At a press briefing Pompeo stated “no country can hold Europe hostage.” There are rules in exploring energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea, Pompeo said, warning Turkey not to engage in drilling activity that is “illegal” and “unacceptable”.

He made clear that operations in international waters are governed by a set of rules. "We’ve told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable and we’ll continue to take diplomatic actions to ensure that lawful activity takes place," he added.

After the meeting, Pompeo wrote in twitter: “Good to see Prime Minister Mitsotakis today. Had a constructive discussion on economic reform, energy cooperation, and other issues. Greece is a pillar of stability in the region. The US stands ready to partner with the new Greek government to build a prosperous future.”

Pompeo and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias discussed bilateral and regional issues and signed the Protocol of Amendment to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement. Responding to question, Pompeo said Greece-US defense deal not related to developments in Turkey, “no other country that drove this”.

Later on, Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed bilateral defense cooperation. We believe that US-Greece cooperation on defense and security will only enhance Greece's ability to promote peace and stability in the region, Pompeo tweeted.

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