TAP, IGB can turn Greece into energy hub, Tsipras highlights

Greece’s potential as an energy hub in the wider region if, among other initiatives, the strategically important TAP and IGB natural gas pipelines are fully utilized was highlighted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The two officials, along with Kerry’s Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, also discussed the current refugee crisis, a leading item on their agenda. The Greek Prime Minister requested US mediation, especially with Turkey, as part of an effort that may make the neighboring country more cooperative on its handling of the influx of refugees on the Greek islands. Tsipras also called for US support of a UN refugee relocation plan.

Progress on the Cyprus issue, in which the US’s role is highly influential, was another issue on the agenda, while the name issue concerning the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) was also discussed. Kerry indicated that the US intends to apply its influence to help resolve the dispute as a means of allowing the neighbouring country to join the EU and NATO, as Washington would like.

During the meeting, Tsipras also elaborated on Greece’s bailout negotiations during his administration’s first seven-month tenure, and the deal that was eventually reached with creditors. He thanked Kerry for the US’s support during the process, while adding Greece’s debt needs to be restructured, a stance backed by the US, which may influence Berlin on the matter.