U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Greece for two days of talks with government officials that are expected to focus on the country’s economic crisis.
Clinton arrived Saturday, after wrapping up a trip to Turkey. She is to meet Sunday with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. A senior official traveling with Clinton says that during her meetings in Athens, she will press both in public and private for support for Mr. Papandreou’s austerity program, aimed at securing additional European and international rescue loans.
Before ending her tour of Turkey, Clinton offered her support to Turkish calls for a resolution of the long-running dispute between Ankara and Athens over Cyprus.
Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, and has sided with the Turkish Cypriot north in the 36-year standoff that has divided the Mediterranean island-nation. Ongoing reconciliation talks begun in 2008 between the Turkish north and the Greek south have so far failed to produce a settlement.
Clinton also said she was concerned about media freedom in Turkey, after media groups reported that about 60 journalists have been jailed there.
Clinton said Saturday in Istanbul that a crackdown on journalists is not necessary and not in Turkey’s interest. She said the European Union candidate’s move seems “inconsistent” with other advances the country has made.
Clinton praised Turkey for its political progress and economic growth. She said the country’s democratic traditions could be a model for other countries in the region.
EU officials opened accession talks with the Ankara government in 2005. But the process has slowed considerably since, with both France and Germany raising objections to mainly Muslim Turkey’s membership.
The EU has frozen talks on eight key areas in the lengthy accession process in an attempt to push Turkey to open its ports to Cyprus.
Clinton is scheduled to leave for India Monday.