Nick Larigakis, President of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), sent a letter to U.S.President Donald Trump in view of his forthcoming meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the White House, scheduled for October 16, 2017.
Mr Larigakis explained the reasons why the U.S. should have a “special relationship” with Greece, taking into consideration the country’s strategic location in Southeastern Europe as well as the fact that Greece is a frontline state in the fight against terrorism and consistently advances U.S. security interests in the area. He also mentioned that Greece has played a crucial role in the U.S. and NATO’s access to the regions of the Middle East and North Africa through Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay, Crete.
The AHI President gave specific examples of NSA’s contribution and he maintained that “the U.S. must work with Greece toward securing the capital improvements, necessary, to the facilities at Souda Bay.” He also added that defence cooperation between the two countries could be further strengthened if the U.S. funded Greece’s International Military Education and Training (IMET).
Addressing the issue of Greece’s economy, Mr Larigakis placed great emphasis on the importance of Greece being successful in its economic recovery and that it would be in the U.S. national interest to assist its unwavering NATO ally. According to AHI’s President, this could be done through policies “aimed to spur commerce investment in Greece as Greece endures its economic crisis” through a reversal of the U.S. administration’s position on the elimination of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). It is also suggested that Greek economy “could realize a boost if it were possible for Greece to claim its full exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without being challenged by third-party interests.”
The American Hellenic Institute is an independent non-profit Greek American public policy centre and thinks tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus and within the Greek American community.