Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Before Their Meeting

Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Before Their Meeting

PRIME MINISTER MITSOTAKIS:  Secretary, welcome to Athens.  You’re coming at a very, very challenging time.  It’s been a year since Russia has invaded Ukraine, and if anything, this unprovoked war has tested our alliance, but I think we’ve been able to respond.  As was actually appropriate, (inaudible) Greece has always supported Ukraine, also by providing military assistance.  And it is very, very clear that we need to send a signal that any form of revisionism, any change of borders by force cannot be tolerated by the international community of democratic states.

Also happy that we’ll be able to take stock of our bilateral relationship —


PRIME MINISTER MITSOTAKIS:  — which I think is going (inaudible) strength.  I’m really happy that we have achieved on all fronts – on the (inaudible) geopolitical side, on the energy side, where Greece is becoming an energy hub and is helping our neighbors to disengage from their dependence on Russian gas.  On the economic side, we have a significant amount of foreign investment from the U.S. —


PRIME MINISTER MITSOTAKIS:  — into the Greek economy.  And of course, it’ll be an opportunity to also discuss regional issues.  I know you come from Türkiye.  We’re all heartbroken over the humanitarian catastrophe that has struck our neighbor.  We were the first country to send our rescuers to help.  And if anything, I think this horrible catastrophe has proven that there is a deep connection between our two people.  We may have our big, significant political differences, but the bonds between our people are there.  And hopefully, it’ll be an opportunity to build upon this sort of psychological connection and improve our relationship, which I think will be beneficial for the stability in the Eastern Mediterranean in general.

So again, lots to discuss, and welcome to Athens.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Prime Minister, thank you very much, and I apologize because I’ve lost my voice over the last few days, but I am so pleased to be here, to be back in Greece.  It is a very challenging time, but the fact of our partnership, the strength of that partnership, gives me great confidence that we can meet the challenges of this time.  As you said, we’re now one year into Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but the partnerships, the alliances we form are strong in support of Ukraine, and I have to applaud Greece’s leadership in that area as among the first to come to the support of Ukraine, to come to the support of democracy, which has been challenged by the Russian aggression.

The role that Greece is playing throughout the region as, as you noted, an energy hub, as a leader on climate, as a leader also for integrating countries further into Europe – the Western Balkans – is making a huge, huge difference and we’re grateful for that.

I’m also pleased that I’m here also to inaugurate the fourth Strategic Dialogue between our countries.  That’s a vehicle for really strengthening even more the partnership that we have on a bilateral basis as well as the work that we’re doing together in the region and around the world.  I look forward to continuing to deepen the economic ties between us, the people-to-people ties.

But I think maybe in some ways, most important of all in this moment is the fact that, as you said when you gave your historic speech to the United States Congress, to a joint session – and I see the photograph here – I remember it very well and one of the things you said, if I recall it correctly, is that the thing that really unites us, the United States and Greece, is the miracle of a Greek idea, the idea that a society functions best when its citizens are equal and all have a right to share in the running of the state.

That’s a powerful idea that unites us fundamentally.  It’s an idea that in some places, in some ways, is being challenged, and the fact that we remain together I think is a source of great hope for the future.  Thank you.

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