Greek PM prepares for US trip on October 17

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is preparing to address a host of crucial issues in his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House on October 17, Kathimerini understands, most pressing among which is the stance that the International Monetary Fund will assume on Greece’s third bailout as well as bilateral cooperation in the area of defense. 

Ahead of the trip, a government source in Washington underlined the significance of a visit by a leader of a party like left-wing SYRIZA to the White House.

Plans by Tsipras to visit Chicago for talks with representatives of businesses and startups, as well as with potential investors, are also regarded as very significant by officials in Washington, Kathimerini understands.

During Tsipras’s planned visit to Chicago – his office has yet to confirm whether it will come before or after his trip Washington – the Greek premier is also expected to meet with John Calamos, the Greek-American businessman and mutual fund manager who acquired Ethiniki Asfalistiki, Greece’s biggest insurer, earlier this year.

It appears that Washington remains interested in further developing cooperation with Greece in the defense sector.

Over the weekend, Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas traveled to the US to attend a defense conference and explore opportunities for Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS).

A priority for EAS is upgrading Greece’s fleet of F-16s but it remains unclear when this will be possible due to budget constraints.

In any case, Vitsas’s visit is expected to prepare the ground for higher-level talks on defense when Tsipras arrives in Washington.

The Greek premier’s primary concern, however, is expected to be securing a more flexible stance by the IMF to ensure that a third bailout review is completed by the end of this year and that Greece remains on track to exit the bailout next summer.

Ahead of Tsipras’s scheduled arrival in Washington, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is expected to visit the US for talks with National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster on issues of bilateral geopolitical concern.

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