31 March, 2006
U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries expressed his government's satisfaction over the outcome of the recent visit to Washington by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and the current level of Greek-U.S. relations, addressing the annual conference of the Hellenic American Heritage Council on Thursday, while also praising the performance of the Greek economy.
Ries said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and all State Department officials dealing with Greece had very good cooperation with Bakoyannis, adding that "strategic cooperation" between the two countries is no mere slogan but a conscientious option of the two countries for close cooperation on a wide spectrum of issues which is not limited to bilateral issues.
The ambassador said that in this framework Greece "can play a considerable role in the dialogue with Islam, exploiting its traditionally good relations with the Moslem world and more recently with Israel," while underlining the very good cooperation existing in Afghanistan "where Greece is managing an excellent hospital unit which is helping Afghan citizens".
Ries also said that Greece's continuing support for Turkey's European course is in its interests. Referring to the issue of Cyprus as well, he said that the U.S. government realizes that for a viable solution to be achieved it must be acceptable to the two communities on the island.
Lastly, commenting on the state of the Greek economy, the ambassador said that following the development impetus during the Olympic period Greece succeeded in avoiding economic recession and the Greek economy is continuing to grow at a considerable rate. Ries also predicted that structural changes being carried out will produce results with regard to growth and attracting investments.
Source: Athens News Agency