Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Maximos Mansion. At the beginning of their meeting, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mr. Blinken had the following dialogue:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Dear Secretary, welcome to Athens. You’re coming at a 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. Greece has always supported Ukraine also by providing military assistance.
It is very, very clear that we need to send the 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, which I think is going from strength to strength. I’m really happy with what we have achieved on all fronts.
On the strategic 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 significant amount of foreign investment from the US into the Greek economy. And of course, it’ll be an opportunity to also discuss regional issues. I know you come from Turkey. We’re all heartbroken with the humanitarian catastrophe that 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 peoples. We may have our big, significant political differences, but the bonds between our people are there. And hopefully there will 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.
Antony Blinken: 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 formed 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 is being 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 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 -United States and Greece- is the miracle of a Greek idea, the idea that 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.