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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Partners in Every Sense of the Word

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks to the First Annual Business Conference on U.S.-Greece Relations
Washington, DC
April 8, 2002

Thank you Andy for that kind introduction. It is an honor to be here tonight.

My father's parents, who came to America early in the 1900's, had a book in their home called Only in America. They, believed, as did the author, Harry Golden, that in America anything is possible.

--Only in America could Andrew Athens follow his dream and do so much to protect Hellenes around the world.

-- Only in America could Colin Powell, the first African American Secretary of State, succeed Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State.

-- And only in America would a second generation American who served his country as Ambassador to Turkey be honored for his efforts to improve U.S.- Greece relations!

--My friend Ambassador Tom Miller has been working with the Greek government and with Major League Baseball to field a Greek team at the 2004 Olympics. Now only in America. But soon we hope in Greece!

I've even heard a rumor that President Bush has been invited to throw out the first pitch. Now we're talking some serious U.S.-Greece relations.

I am proud to be honored for my efforts in promoting U.S.-Greece relations. I feel like a little bit of a cheat, however, since this is not such a hard job. Greece is a friend and an ally of the United States. We are partners in every sense of the word.

We are partners in the War on Terrorism:

In the aftermath of September 11 Greece stood with us. We appreciated the immediate and heartfelt condolences extended by Greeks and by Greece after the attacks.

During Prime Minister Simitis' visit to Washington in January, President Bush thanked him for Greece's support in the fight against terrorism. In addition to overflight and landing rights, Greece has extended us use of Souda Bay facilities in Crete, and offered to provide "backfill" troops for the Balkans.

Greece has troops in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The Greek navy dispatched a frigate with a crew of over 200 to join an international naval force in the Persian Gulf.

Greece has suffered from terrorism. Americans have suffered terror attacks in Greece. We will keep working with Greece to bring an end to this threat and bring justice to those who murdered Greeks and Americans.

The United States and Greece are partners in security:

We are members of NATO, the most successful alliance in history. And an alliance that is still needed in the 21st century. Greece and our NATO allies have matched their words with deeds in the War on Terrorism. The first use of Article V of the NATO Treaty was invoked in defense of the United States.

As we look ahead to the Prague NATO Summit in November, we should be inspired by President Bush's statement last year in Warsaw, "We should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to expand the cause of freedom."

What will we see in Prague?

  • New capabilities for NATO
  • New members for NATO
  • A new relationship for Russia with NATO

We are pleased to see the improved relations between our NATO allies, Greece and Turkey.

And we appreciate Greece's support for the talks between the two leaders on Cyprus. The European Union's decision later this year regarding Cyprus' EU accession adds urgency to these efforts. We support Cyprus' entry into the EU and so we support the UN's efforts to resolve this conflict.

We are partners in trade:

Since 1985, bilateral trade between our two countries has tripled to nearly $2 billion with the potential for much more growth.

U.S firms account for about one third of total foreign direct investment in Greece and employ about 8,000 people. The prospects for bilateral trade and investment are excellent, and we congratulate the Greek business community for helping make this possible.

The efforts of Greek businesspeople and the Greek government have greatly improved the investment climate over the past decade. Much of this improvement is due to Minister Papantoniou's work as Minister for the National Economy.

He was one of the primary architects for Greece's successful entry into the European Monetary Union. Today, economic growth in Greece, at around 3.5%, is among the strongest in Europe.

Nonetheless, work remains to be done. Unemployment in Greece is too high. WTO commitments on intellectual property laws need to be kept. There is no doubt, however, that Greece is on the right path.

We are partners in culture and spirit.

I have heard there are three million citizens of Greek American heritage in the United States. They represent a living link between our two countries. We are humbled by the contributions they make to this great country.

Our ties also have a spiritual dimension. The Ecumenical Patriarch is not only the leader of Greek Orthodoxy but a moral teacher to us all. It has always been my honor to do my modest part to support him and his colleagues in Istanbul and I reiterate tonight my personal pledge to keep working to get the Halki Seminary open and back in business. Archbishop Demitrious is also a source of strength to all who know him.

Cooperation between the United States and Greece will only increase. We share the fundamental values of freedom and democracy, NATO membership, and a strong trade relationship. And with Greece's assumption of the European Presidency next year, we will work even more closely together on the transatlantic agenda.

Before I close, let me salute your organization in its efforts to promote our relations and for putting together this first annual conference.

Harry Golden was right: In America, anything is possible. We get that optimism from the lessons of ancient Greece and the example of what Andy Manatos called the "new" Greece. Sophocles said: "It is hope which maintains mankind."

I wish you continued success and I thank you for the honor you have bestowed upon me this evening.

Released on April 9, 2002

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