Unsubstantiated reports had been circulating in Greek media for weeks that U.S. President Barack Obama would visit Greece, but apart from some anonymous sources here and there, The White House didn’t offer official confirmation, until today.
According to the White House press secretary, President Obama will travel to Greece, Germany, and Peru November 14-21, 2016. This trip is intended to highlight “the President’s commitment to trans-Atlantic solidarity, a strong and integrated Europe, and to cooperation with our Asia Pacific partners,” the statement said.
The official release continued that “The President’s schedule will underscore the linkages between our security interests and our economic agenda, our efforts to promote balanced, sustainable, and strong global economic growth, and our support for trade liberalization and economic reforms that reduce inequality and deliver opportunities for the middle class around the world as well as regional economic institutions that foster private sector growth.
Obama will arrive in Greece on November 15, where he will see President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and reaffirm American support for ongoing efforts to place the Greek economy on a path to sustainability and renewed prosperity.
The Obama Administration has been a continuous believer that debt relief from European creditors would be necessary to get Greece back on track to economic viability.
The press secretary’s statement continues:
“In the birthplace of democracy, the President will also reaffirm the resilience of democratic values, which have done so much to deliver peace and prosperity to Europe and the wider world. Additionally, the President will make clear our appreciation for the remarkable generosity shown by the Greek Government and people to refugees and migrants.”
The last time a sitting US president visited Greece was 1999 when President Bill Clinton visited Athens and gave a moving speech which acknowledged the complicit U.S. role in supporting the military dictatorship in the 1960s and 70s.