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Obama’s gifts to Samaras

04 August 2013 / 14:08:17  GRReporter
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On Thursday, 8 August, at 3 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Greek time), the Greek Prime Minister will enter the White House in order to meet President Barack Obama, who is ready to discuss the economic situation in his attempts to find a final solution after the German elections in September. Reportedly, Obama is expected to say in his official statement that struggling Greece should get real help from its partners and allies, including America.

A diplomatic source said that if there are no changes in this text, it will serve, on the one hand as a call for American businessmen to invest in Greece, and on the other hand – to prompt American tourists to visit the country. Traditionally, Americans are the most “generous” tourists, since they spent about 5,000 dollars per person, besides costs for hotels and plane tickets. The same source expects that Obama will receive the Greek Prime Minister warmly and with a personal attitude, since he believes that Samaras is leading a titanic struggle for the economy, which he should win. American Minister of Finance Jack Liu, who recently visited Athens, is also expected to attend the meeting, unless he is on a mission abroad.

Those who expect the American president to announce a package of economic assistance for Greece will be disappointed, since America cannot afford it at this time, nor can such a proposal be passed in the American Congress, where the majority is controlled by the Republican Party that used Greece as a bad example in its election campaign.

Although they will not provide economic aid, the Americans will do other things, according to the source of diplomatic circles. "They are looking for ways to cooperate with Greece, without affecting Europeans," the diplomat said for Ethnos newspaper, adding that Obama would not allow the Germans to complain, although he will speak against liquidity and for the creation of new jobs. Obama will read his statement in the Oval Office and will enable Samaras to do the same.

The Americans want to help, according to the source. He added that the Europeans rank first at an institutional level, however, various ways for the closure of the gap in the Eurozone and avoiding another major crisis will be discussed. President Obama sympathizes with Greece and other countries that have signed the programme of the Troika, said the source, who believes that the visit of the Greek Prime Minister will be successful, given the Greek diplomatic talks with American officials in the White House and the State Department.

Reportedly, American Minister of Finance Jack Liu has already informed Obama about the conversations he had in Greece with Samaras and Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras, during which they defined the economic agenda of the meeting, which includes the energy sector and Greece’s strategic cooperation with Cyprus and Israel. Liu will hold another meeting with President Obama shortly before the visit of Samaras.

Jack Liu and Yiannis Stournaras

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Kerry will be absent, since he is planning to travel abroad at the time of the meeting. But his trip depends on talks between Israelis and Palestinians, so there is a possibility that he will be able to attend the meeting at the White House.

75 minutes tete-a-tete at the White House

At the meeting, the two leaders will be accompanied by their close associates, but talks will only be between Obama and Samaras and will last 1 hour and 15 minutes. Besides the economy and energy, they will discuss the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, the Balkan problems, including the problem with Macedonia, and other international issues. Bilateral relations are excellent and the Americans are satisfied with Greece’s help in Afghanistan and the fact that Athens is not creating problems for American bases.

The White House’s statement about the meeting reads that the agenda will include talks on various topics, such as the American support for Greece’s reforms, transatlantic trade and investment cooperation in terms of the Cyprus issue, cooperation in defence, the fight against terrorism, and the security in North Africa and Syria. The American side emphasized the desire of the White House to support Greece’s efforts for the restructuring of its economy.

A message to Berlin in terms of the debt crisis

According to information, support for Greece will be strong and will be made public, because Obama wants to send a message to Berlin that the European partners can stop the debt crisis in Europe, which has caused damage worth billions in America. He will also repeat Jack Liu’s theses which he expressed in Athens for the creation of new jobs and struggle with liquidity. Obama believes that liquidity "kills" countries and people and he will try to persuade the Europeans to copy the American way of dealing with the crisis of 2008.

During the talks about the reduction of Greece's debt so that it can be serviced and the fact that attempts to rescue the Greek economy would not lead to a collapse, various ideas will be presented, including a combined package with an extensive period for payment of loans, which could even extend up to 50 years, reduction of interest rates and arrangement of 50 billion euro for bank recapitalisation.

Tags: Antonis Samaras Barack Obama visit to the USA debt crisis the Cypriot issue
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