US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lauded the role that Greece is playing throughout the region during his meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on Monday.
“The role that Greece is playing throughout the region as 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,” Blinken said.
The Secretary thanked Mitsotakis for Greece’s regional leadership, including its continued support to Ukraine.
“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,” Blinken added.
Blinken sees improved relations between Greece and Turkey
Blinken’s arrival in Athens immediately after Ankara – where, in addition to his meeting with his counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, he also had a brief meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – reflected one of the main objectives of this trip to the region, namely to support the effort to open up more coherent channels of communication between Greece and Turkey.
“Turkey and Greece are close friends and, of course, NATO allies. And both are very important partnerships and relationships for us. It was incredibly gratifying to see Greeks – and also, by the way, Armenians, Israelis – working shoulder to shoulder with Turks to help people in the earthquake,” he said upon his arrival to Athens.
He added that “if there can be anything positive coming from this catastrophe, maybe it is improved relations with these countries.”
On his part, Mitsotakis stressed that the invasion of Ukraine and the change of borders through violence are unacceptable.
“It is very clear we must convey the message that every form of revisionism, every change of borders through violence, cannot be accepted by the international community of democratic states.”
The Greek premier also spoke of Greece becoming an energy hub and ending its dependence on Russian natural gas imports, and the expressed his sadness over the earthquake devastation in Turkey while reiterating Greece’s support to the neighboring country.
Blinken, who is visiting Greece for the first time under his current role, spoke of alliances created to support Ukraine and praised Greece’s role as one of the first to express its support.
Referring to the launch of the 4th round of the Greece-US Strategic Dialogue – which he will inaugurate with his Greek counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias, on Tuesday – Blinken said what linked Greece and the US was their commitment to democracy, a Greek idea.
The Secretary referred to the historic speech by Mitsotakis at the US Congress last May to underscore the deep ties between the US and Greece.
“I remember it very well and one of the things you said…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.”
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