Provocative Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’ meeting in Washington, D.C. with US defense chief Ashton Carter has been cancelled without explanation.
Kammenos was due to meet Carter on May 20 but Kathimerini said it was told by sources it didn’t identify that the Greek defense chief won’t get the face-to-face with Carter nor with Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work.
Athens was called to notify of the cancellation but Kammenos is going ahead with his trip and has been bumped down to meeting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland on May 22.
He is also due to hold talks with members of Congress and the Senate, and speak at the Hudson Institute and Atlantic Council think-tanks.
Kammenos earlier in the spring irked US officials when he said that unless Greece got a deal with international lenders that it could let jihadists out of the country into Europe and other destinations. That also held up for a while a Congressional proclamation celebrating Greek Independence Day.
There was no information or speculation whether the snub was payback for Kammenos’ provocation and as he has also alienated Turkey, a key US ally.
Kammenos is the leader of the far right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL), a marginal party that was brought into a coalition led by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party that needed votes for a majority in Parliament, and who was rewarded for it with the appointment to head the defense ministry.
Kammenos studied economics and psychology and has no background in defense. Like most Greek ministers, his was a political appointment and ministers frequently jump from post to post although they have few or no qualifications.