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Mr Obama addressed a White House news conference on Monday before leaving for Greece

President Barack Obama has sought to


assure America's allies that
President-elect Donald Trump will
honour the country's international
alliances when he takes office in
January.
Mr Obama told reporters that Mr Trump had

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who became president
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expressed an interest in maintaining the US


commitment to Nato.
This came hours before Mr Obama was due
to arrive in the Greek capital, Athens, on
his final official overseas trip.

What will President


Trump do first?
Full results

Mr Obama will later travel on to Germany and then to Peru.


Security has been stepped up in Athens where anti-US protests are
planned.
Mr Obama is expected to use his final foreign visit to calm nerves
over the forthcoming administration of Mr Trump.
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The property tycoon's surprise election victory has raised concern
among some world leaders after a string of controversial statements
he made during his campaign.
At a White House news conference on Monday, Mr Obama said his
successor had "expressed a great interest in maintaining our core
strategic relationships".
He said this included "strong and robust Nato" partnerships, which
he said would convey "enormous continuity" to the world.

Analysis by James Reynolds, BBC News, Athens


President Obama comes to Athens partly to talk about democracy in
the place in which it was born. There's a lot for him to consider.
In Ancient Greece, not far from the Acropolis, populist speakers
used to rouse crowds with the promise of action against the state's
enemies. Those speakers were known as demagogues. You have to
wonder whether or not that will remind the president of the man who
will succeed him.

Modern Greece may also have some interesting lessons for the
outgoing president. The recent global wave of populism had its
beginnings in this country when the left-wing Syriza movement came
to power in January 2015. The party's leader, Alexis Tsipras,
promised to tear down a corrupt system. But almost two years on,
Mr Tsipras finds himself carrying out many of the policies he had
campaigned against.
Mr Obama may have little clue as to whether or not his own
successor will follow a similar path. But he can expect to spend
much of his time in Athens explaining and even defending the
motivations of president-elect Trump.
The Greek authorities are concerned that leftist movements may try
to disrupt the president's visit. For that reason, security around Mr
Obama is expected to be even tighter than usual.

Mr Obama said that in last Thursday's White House meeting with his
successor, he had urged Mr Trump to send "some signals of unity"
after the bruising election battle.
"I did say to him, as I've said publicly, that because of the nature of
the campaign and the bitterness and ferocity of the campaign, it's
really important to try to send some signals of unity, and to reach out
to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about
the tenor of the campaign," he said.
Mr Obama said he "absolutely" had concerns about Mr Trump but
urged his fellow Democrats to accept the result and "recognise that
that is how democracy works".
In another development, the Kremlin said on Monday that President
Vladimir Putin had spoken by phone to Mr Trump and agreed to work
with him towards improving relations between the two countries. Mr
Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian president, describing him
as a stronger leader than Barack Obama.

AP

Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin during his election campaign

Speaking in Athens, where Mr Obama is due to arrive on Tuesday


morning, Greek minister of state Nikos Pappas said there was
surprise at the election result, as elsewhere, but added: "Everybody
would be expecting the US government to continue to be on our
side."
"The mood of Greek people for this political change is 'wait and
see'," he said.
High on the agenda in talks between Mr Obama and Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday will be Greece's crippling debt problems.
The US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have urged
restructuring of the debt but face resistance from EU states,
particularly Germany.
As preparations for Mr Obama's visit went ahead, Greek anarchist
and left-wing groups announced they were planning protest marches
"against the representative of imperialist powers".
Police banned public gatherings in central Athens and near the city's
international airport until after the US leader's departure. Extra
officers are also being deployed.

EPA

Greek trade unionists were angered by a police ban on protests in central Athens

The last official visit to Greece of a sitting US president - by Bill


Clinton in 1999 - was marked by extensive violent protests.
On Wednesday, Mr Obama will fly on to Germany where he will hold
talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and meet other key European
leaders.
In Peru, Mr Obama will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic
Co-operation summit and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and
Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull.

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