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Statements of Foreign Minister Kotzias and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before their meeting (20 April 2015, Washington, D.C.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, all. It’s my pleasure to welcome the Foreign Minister Kotzias of Greece. I think everybody knows what incredible, strong, and long ties the United States has with Greece, and obviously Greek-Americans make an enormous contribution to our country. We have a very large Greek-American community in the state I was privileged to represent in the Senate in Massachusetts, but in many parts of our country – New York, California, elsewhere.
So we have strong ties and we are NATO partners, and obviously we are in challenging times. We are very aware of the sacrifices the people of Greece have been called on to make because of the challenges of the economy and also the challenges of terrorism and counterterrorism, but particularly the economy right now. We’re confident about Greece’s ability with reforms and with effort to be able to chart a new course ahead. I would hope very much, Mr. Minister, that we have an ability to be able to maintain the strong U.S.-European partnership with respect to our support for Ukraine, the need to be able to encourage Russia in every way possible to live up to the Minsk agreement and to help bring about peace in the region, and also to work together on longer-term challenges like energy, energy supplies, and diversification for the region.
And our efforts on counterterrorism could not be more important together in the future. Obviously, we’re very concerned that those who have committed acts of terrorism who’ve been incarcerated need to remain incarcerated. And we hope that we can work through all of our policy issues, because the relationship between us is so important, and obviously we wish the new government in this moment of challenge we wish it well and we look forward to being supportive and being helpful in the days ahead. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER KOTZIAS: Thank you, (inaudible). Thank you, Secretary Kerry. Thank you for your invitation to come here in Washington. I’m here as a friend – as a friend with somebody who’s working together with us for democracy and peace against terrorism (inaudible). And I hope that our relations will be deepened and that we will find new fields of cooperation.
I think I can – we can be sure that the new law in Greece about the prisoners will not let any terrorists become free. It will be not only a test of the detention of – the way of this detention, nobody will become free. I am very thankful for this invitation.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Welcome.
FOREIGN MINISTER KOTZIAS: Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Good to have you. Thank you. Thank you very much.