American General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's supreme military officer, is on a visit to Athens today, for talks with his Greek counterpart, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.
The US Embassy in Athens welcomed the General with a short video of his arrival and the title «Καλώς ήρθατε», which means welcome in Greek.
The visit comes just four days before the start of the Thessaloniki International Festival, where the US is the honoured country this year.
The fact that Dunford is visiting Greece in a period in which US-Turkey relations have reached their nadir, naturally without a stopover in Turkey, has been viewed by some as another clear message to Ankara.
At the moment, US-Greece relations, including an ever closer military cooperation, are at an excellent level, even as US-Turkey relations are in an unprecedented crisis.
As the US Embassy in Athens underscored, General Dunford’s visit aims to explore ways to broaden cooperation on security with Nato ally Greece.
Among the issues to be discussed by General Dunford and Admiral Apostolakis are the US base in Souda, Crete, and Greece’s role as a pillar of stability in the Mediterranean, where Cyprus’ gas and oil drilling has caused heightened tensions between Nicosia and Ankara, which has made its presence felt with Turkish warships in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and Ankara’s plans to drill illegally in Cyprus’ EEZ.