Tags: Barack Obama | greece | prime | minister | barack obama | visit

Obama Demurs On Inviting New Greek Prime Minister to US

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Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 11:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In a departure from his standard offer in calls to most new world leaders upon their election, President Barack Obama apparently did not invite Greece's just-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the United States when they spoke on Tuesday.

At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House Thursday, Newsmax asked Press Secretary Josh Earnest if, following President Barack Obama's call, there were any plans were under way for a U.S. visit by Tsipras. The president called to congratulate the new prime minister three days after his Coalition for the Radical Left won a resounding victory in Greek elections.

"I don't have any travel plans to announce," replied the President's top spokesman, "I'm not aware of any travel plans the prime minister has. You can check with his government to see if he has any plans to visit the U.S."

The apparent lack of a personal invitation for Tsipras to visit him in the U.S. differs from similar calls the president has made to other world leaders. Following Narendra Modi's election as Indian prime minister last year, for example, the President called with congratulations and an invitation to meet in Washington (even though Modi had previously been denied a U.S. visa for actions the Indian state of Gujarat had taken against Muslim demonstrators when Modi was its chief minister).

Tsipras last visited the United States in January 2013. At that time, the then-opposition party leader had appointments at the U.S. State Department and with Members of Congress and also spoke at the Brookings Institution.

Newsmax also asked Earnest whether the president had expressed any concern to Tsipras about the strong third-place showing in Greek parliamentary elections of the nationalist Golden Dawn Party. Often described in the European press as "neo-Nazi," Golden Dawn wants to deport all immigrants. On Sunday, it won 6.3 per cent of the vote and 17 parliamentary seats, even though Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other party officials are in jail on charges related to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013.

"As it relates to Greek politics, I don't believe they were focused on Greek politics in their conversation," Earnest told us. "They were most focused on the kinds of steps Greece can take to put in place the economic reforms that would be in the best interests of their people.

"And the president made clear, as we said in the readout [of his call to Tsipras], that we are going to continue to work closely with Greek leaders and the Greek people to put in place policies that are in the best interests of their country and the broader European and global economy."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.




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In a departure from his standard offer in calls to most new world leaders upon their election, President Barack Obama apparently did not invite Greece's just-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the United States when they spoke on Tuesday.
greece, prime, minister, barack obama, visit
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2015-03-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 11:03 PM
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