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Before leaving Greece and while speaking to Alexis Papachelas in a recorded interview that aired late Monday evening on SKAI television’s “Oi Neoi Fakeloi” Show (The New Files Show), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the state of the Greek economy, what type of interests the US has on the possibilities of natural gas in the Aegean as well as Greek and Turkish relations.
Asked what her thoughts were about the possibilities of US investments to Greece, Mrs Clinton told Alexis Papachelas that Greece is “well poised in clean and renewable energy” and that US companies should invest in Greece because of this. “Some countries will be “market setters and leaders” because of this said, adding that because of this “there are investments that Americans would be interested in”.
We think that there is an opportunity here,” she added on the sidelines of a three-day trip to Athens to express US support for Greece’s debt recovery efforts.
When asked what she thought about the state of the Greek economy and a possible default, Hillary Clinton said that Greece has come a long way but its not where it needs to be as of yet in order to reassure the markets, and to avoid the economic disaster “that could occur”.
At around the 50 minute and after, Mr. Papachelas continued his interview and this time the subject of foreign relations was opened.
Asked what her thoughts were on the multitude of reports of natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, she said that the US has given serious credence to the reports and that the US encourages exploration. She said that there are also ways that Greece can become a “hub for conventional energy”, with oil and gas, pipelines that would be transacting within its boarders.
Asked if the US’s geopolitical view of Greece has changed now that there are serious developments brewing in Syria and Libya, she said that Greece has a very big “strategic advantage” in the area. Mrs. Clinton said that we are witnessing a very rapid change in the Middle East and North Africa, and if you just look at the map, and where Greece is situated, “its strategic advantage is apparent.” She said that there is still much work to be done, and efforts to try and resolve Greek-Turkish problems will continue, as well as the “unfinished business” of the western Balkan.
“We all work to try and support the transitions going on in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, but I don’t think that there is any doubt about Greece’s strong strategic location, coupled with its historic relations with these countries in the Mediterranean that there is a great opportunity here for Greece.”
“If you think of the industries of the future, and energy will certainly continue to be one, how Greece positions itself on renewable, on clean energy and on traditional sources of energy will be a major impact on what will happen in the region.”
Turning to Greek Turkish relations, Mrs. Clinton said “I think the diplomatic effort should be shelved during the economic crisis.” She said that the US believes that there is an opening here “I know that Prime Minister (George) Papandreou met with (Turkish counterpart) Erdogan and I encouraged him to continue that”. I think in the medium-term working to resolve Greek-Turkish tensions and a lot of the left over issues of the past clears the decks for Greece to play that strategic leadership role in the region.”
On the subject of Greek-FYROM relations, the US Secretary of State urged Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to resolve their long-standing name dispute which until now has blocked Skopje’s EU and NATO entry bids. “We have made it very clear that we support the negotiations that have gone on between Skopje and Athens.”
Almost two decades of UN-led negotiations over the name dispute have been fruitless.
Skopje officially became a candidate for EU membership in 2005, but Athens has blocked its accession to the 27-nation bloc and NATO.
FYROM filed an application with the International Court of Justice in November 2008, claiming Greece was violating its rights by blocking its membership of NATO pending the resolution of the name dispute.
“The government in Skopje needs to know that it will not be able to move forward on its European integration until it does resolve this (issue). And, obviously, Greece has to be willing to accept how the name is resolved,” Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton gives interview to Greek reporter Mr. Papachelas on SKAI’s Oi Fakeloi (The Files) program. The interview is split in two parts. As the show begins
she speaks about the Greek economy and the fiscal measures that the Greek government has taken so far. In the second part of the interview at around the
50th minute, she begins to speak about the issue of Skopje and the ongoing name dispute between Greece and FYROM. Most of the interview is in English.