Papandreau tries to let steam out of US-Greek pressure cooker
Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou seems to be trying to reduce the tensions that have increasingly troubled Greece's relations with the United States and NATO.
Mr. Papandreou recently commented at length on his country's troubled relationship with Turkey and NATO. His remarks could not be described as conciliatory, but they were devoid of the harsh anti-American, often pro-Soviet rhetoric that has so angered Washington.
On July 27, Mr. Papandreou held meetings with Turkish Ambassador to Athens Nazmi Akiman and NATO's new secretary-general, Lord Carrington.
These meetings and the Papandreou comments came less than two weeks after the latest blowup in US-Greek relations and during a period of stepped-up diplomatic activity designed to defuse the latest crisis. The crisis had broken out when the US criticized Greece for its anti-American, pro-Soviet rhetoric and for alleged laxity in combating international terrorism.
After reports began to circulate that the US might not allow Norway to sell Greece American-built F-5 jet fighters, allotting them to Turkey instead, Athens exploded, charging the US with interfering in Greece's sovereign affairs. The Greek government warned that it might be forced to review the entire range of US-Greek relations, including the base agreement signed only one year ago.
After a meeting between US Ambassador Monteagle Sterns and Papandreou and a surprise visit to Athens by NATO's supreme commander, Gen. Bernard Rogers, the crisis began to subside. But many questions remained about the future of Greek-NATO relations, which have been severely strained by Greek-Turkish disputes since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.