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U.S. President Obama stresses need for growth and new jobs in meeting with PM Samaras
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was on Thursday warmly welcomed by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House for a meeting which lasted for one hour. In statements made by the two men afterwards, the U.S. President expressed the view that Greece’s efforts to exit the crisis cannot be focused only on austerity but require growth and creation of new jobs. Obama spoke of the deep friendship existing between the two countries, making special reference to the Greek-American community.
“We are all watching the challenge facing Greece in proceeding with structural reforms to reduce its debt. The Prime Minister told me that he is committed to go ahead, but this cannot be done solely through austerity measures. Apart from budget consolidation, there has to be growth and job creation,” Obama stressed.
He also noted that the U.S. will stand by Greece by providing assistance, saying that there is a strong relationship between the two countries, as Greece is a partner of the U.S. in NATO and cooperate in the military sector and security issues.
Obama added that Greece is located an area facing challenges and difficulties and can play an important stabilising role and provide solutions to problems including that of Cyprus. He summed up by referring to the excellent discussion he had with the Greek premier.
Samaras said Greece and the U.S. are more than allies and share the same values. “The enormous sacrifices by the Greek people should not be in vain,” he said, further referring to the problem of unemployment in Greece and particularly youth unemployment.
The Greek premier added “the Greek success story will also be a European success story» and that Greece is trying to achieve stability in a very destabilised environment.
Speaking on Cyprus, Samaras said there was a window of opportunity and that Greece will work on it. He further underlined Greece’s massive energy reserves, in the Greece-Cyprus-Israel triangle. "We are trying to align synergies by contributing to Europe's energy security," he said. Finally, Samaras referred to Greece’s Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2014.