US Chief of Diplomacy Mike Pompeo was greeted in protests by thousands of people in Athens, where he went to sign a defense agreement.
Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Greek Parliament at the sound of slogans from the party and communist unions in protest against the US Secretary of State's day and half visit to the country.
"Pompeo go home" read on a huge strip erected by protesters in a parade through the center of the Greek capital, where traffic was cut and a strong police device detached.
Following his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, Conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Mike Pompeo told the press that "Greece can play a strategic role in the region" and "can be a pillar of stability" in the area.
The visit aims to strengthen cooperation with Greece, a traditional US ally in the region and a member of NATO, at a time when Turkey's pressure on the Eastern Mediterranean is increasing.
According to Greek and US government sources, Pompeo and Mitsotakis will sign an agreement to "update cooperation on defense" between the two countries.
The Greek Prime Minister referred to the tense situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the European Union (EU) island of Cyprus accuses Turkey of illegal drilling operations in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
"Cyprus has called for the application of international law and I look forward to the US positive contribution to a more constructive climate in the region," he said.
The EU again Friday criticized Turkey's illegal drilling in the region after Ankara announced it will drill with its ship “Yavuz” in the so-called block 7 in southwestern Cyprus waters awarded to oil companies. Italian Eni and French Total.
After Cyprus decided to bid for international exploration of natural gas deposits, Turkey – which has military control over northern Cyprus – protested against this “unilateral” initiative and sent several geological exploration and drilling vessels to the area.
Mike Pompeo's visit to Greece is the last leg of a trip that took him to Italy and the Balkans.