Empty promises: Greek protesters vent outrage over visiting Obama’s NATO & IMF policy
The Greek people aren’t satisfied with US policies supporting the IMF and TTIP, as well as the policies in Syria and Iraq that created a hell of a mess and thousands of refugees, along with the US stance on Turkey, says independent Greek MEP Notis Marias.
Police in Athens resorted to tear gas against demonstrators protesting against the visit of outgoing US President Barack Obama, who wants to reassure Europe of Washington’s commitment to its NATO ally.
Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. © Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters
RT: What message do the Greek people want to deliver at the end of Obama’s presidency?
Notis Marias: The Greek people are not satisfied with the policies of the US toward Greece because the Obama administration has been supporting the IMF, which has taken harsh measures against the Greek people. Also, they are not satisfied with the Obama administration as far as it concerns the TTIP, which is an agreement, which will not help the Greek economy. Furthermore, the Greeks are protesting because of the policies of the US in Syria and in Iraq which actually have created a hell of a mess and now we have thousands of refugees coming to Greece. Finally, there is a message for Mr. Obama that the US has not taken a firm stance against Turkey…Turkish fighters have been violating Greek airspace and the US has not taken all these years a firm stance toward Turkey. These are the messages that all the protesters are sending to Mr. Obama.
RT: Obama promotes democratic values and says he wants to support suffering, debt-ridden countries. But what did he actually do in this direction during his presidency?
NM: I don’t think that he has taken any concrete measures. He has given only promises that he will pressure the creditors, that is to say the creditors in the EU – Germany and the other member-states, the IMF, but he has not taken concrete measures on that. There were only promises. And today what he said was that he supported the so-called reforms in Greece. These reforms actually were measures to cut the pensions and salaries. All this restructuring program of the Greek economy has created poverty and unemployment. So, he has supported this program, and that is why the Greek people do not trust the policies of Mr. Obama.
There is a tradition of skepticism against the policy of the US in Greece. Don’t forget that just in two days there is a commemoration of the end of the dictatorship, which was imposed by the US policy many decades ago. So, this time while the Greek government is trying to present the visit of Obama as a visit of a peacemaker, thousands of demonstrators came onto the streets to protest US policy in different parts of the world – from Latin America to Middle East, Afghanistan and Syria. – Greek journalist Aris Chatzistefanou told RT.
RT: Obama’s visit angered and mobilized many people in Greece. But the Greek government, on the contrary, sees Obama’s visit as making possible new agreements. Why is that?
NM: The Greek government believes that Mr. Obama might help the government. But Obama is an outgoing president. He is not going to be in office in two months. Mr. Trump perhaps is going to follow a different approach. I think that Obama can’t help Greece. The only thing that I understand that now Obama is advocating, is a new agreement with the Greek government as far as it concerns LNG (liquefied natural gas) – the transfer of LNG from Texas to Greece, at the hub of Alexandropoulos and then the transmission of this LNG to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Perhaps, he might sign an agreement on this issue…This might be the only issue that he can bring to Greece – the policy of the US to export LNG via Greece to the Balkan region.
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