President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis affirmed that the U.S. – Greece relationship is “stronger than ever” during the meeting of the two leaders at the White House on Monday.
Biden congratulated Mitsotakis on 201 years of Greek independence. The leaders underscored that the relationship between the United States and Greece is stronger than ever and noted the enduring people-to-people bonds that have helped define our bilateral ties for more than two centuries.
The U.S. President referred to the personal friendship with Mitsotakis and to the democratic ideals born in Greece that inspired the United States and which he said are sadly tried by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a democracy threatened by autocrats.
Bidenopoulos or Bidenakis?
The issues they will discuss include the defense and trade partnerships, energy security and climate change, Biden said in brief introductory comments to the press.
“Today our friendship and partnership between our countries, between Greeks and Americans, I think is more important than ever. And I’m honored to celebrate the partnership with you,” the American president noted.
PM Mitsotakis referred to the significance of currently celebrating the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, which was also inspired by the American struggle for independence. Over the last two centuries, Greece and the United States have fought wars together and are now united in facing the challenge of the Ukraine war, he noted.
“My visit to the United States is an opportunity to reassess the status of our relationship, which I honestly believe is at an all-time high,” the Greek leader said, underlining Greece’s role as a reliable partner, one that has overcome crises to become a pillar of stability in the region.
The two leaders reviewed U.S.- Greece defense and Russia sanctions
According to a White House release, the two leaders, reviewed “our strong and growing defense partnership, our shared democratic values, and our commitment to further expand bilateral trade and investment.”
They also discussed developments in Ukraine, “including our strong support for efforts to impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked aggression, and pledged to continue backing the people and government of Ukraine.”
Developments in the eastern Mediterranean were also discussed, “as well as our common efforts to confront global challenges, including energy security, climate change, and threats to democracy.”
Biden hosts a reception at the White House
After the talks, Biden hosted a reception at the White House. The reception was attended by about 200 guests, including Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of the Orthodox Church in the Americas, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez.
In short speeches at the banquet, Elpidophoros condemned Russian aggression in the Ukraine. “Freedom and democracy are worth fighting for,” Biden said in response. On a lighter note, he told Mitsotakis that “really, Jill and I are looking forward to seeing you in Greece.”
On his part, Mitsotakis said that Greece plans to play an important role as a gateway for energy in Europe and also asked Biden to put negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus back on track. He also mentioned that Greece will acquire the advanced F-35 fighter.
On Tuesday, Mitsotakis will meet Pelosi and address a joint session of Congress. He will then meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and be honored at a luncheon hosted by Pelosi and will meet with members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, as well as members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Prime Minister will conclude his visit in Washington with a dinner with representatives of Greek-American organizations.