Mike Pompeo Calls for Peaceful Resolution of Maritime Dispute with Turkey

Mike Pompeo meets his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Thessaloniki on Monday. Credit: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias called for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the east Mediterranean, as they met at Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, on Monday.

“The United States and Greece .. reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law,” the United States and Greece said in a joint statement.

The two countries are also ready to use “all appropriate means” to safeguard regional stability, they said. Pompeo has previously said the United States is “deeply concerned” about Turkish actions in the east Mediterranean.

Issues of bilateral, regional and international interest, with emphasis on Greece-US Strategic Dialogue, defense and energy cooperation also dominated the meeting between Pompeo and Dendias.

In a tweet shortly before leaving Washington on Sunday, Pompeo, who is the first US Secretary of State to visit Thessaloniki, said: “Back on the road and heading to Europe to reinforce our strong bilateral relationships and the importance of sustained regional cooperation. First stop: Thessaloniki, Greece.”

During his visit to Thessaloniki, the US Secretary of State will also participate in a round table discussion on energy, in the presence of Environment and Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis, followed by the signing of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between Greece and the USA, in the presence of Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis.

The visit of the head of American diplomacy will end with his visit to the Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki.

After Thessaloniki, the US Secretary of State will travel to Crete, where he will visit the Souda Naval Base to underline the strong US security partnership with Greece.

Greece, a critical partner

In a document it released on the occasion of Pompeo’s visit, the State Department said Greece “is a critical partner with which the United States shares key strategic goals.”

The US considers Greece “a pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans and a vital partner in bolstering security and prosperity in the region,” the State Department document said.

“We are committed to supporting Greece’s security, prosperity, and continued democracy,” it added.

Hours before his trip, Pompeo had a discussion on de-escalating the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Tweeting afterwards on his official account, Pompeo said he was “pleased” to discuss the issue with Stoltenberg and to “reiterate the importance of NATO Alliance unity.”