Karamanlis and Obama reaffirm excellent relations
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and US President Barack Obama reaffirmed the excellent relations and bonds between the two countries following their meeting in Strasbourg on Saturday.
The meeting took place at the Palais de la Musique following the conclusion of NATO’s 60th anniversary summit.
Speaking to reporters before the discussion, the US President said he was happy to be meeting with the prime minister of Greece, adding that the meeting provided an opportunity to reaffirm the excellent relations between the US and Greece.
Obama stressed that it was not only the US that has been inspired by Ancient Greece, but Greece, too, has been inspired by the US, citing the American Revolution as an example.
He said that the two countries share common democratic principles and will continue hand-in-hand in the 21st century as well, while also noting the significant role played by the Greek community in the US.
Obama futher noted that US-Greek cooperation was very crucial on matters concerning the confrontation of terrorism, the global financial crisis and energy security, adding that he was proud of his friendship with the Greek prime minister.
Karamanlis expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his first meeting with new US President.
The Greek Prime Minister revealed that Obama had invited him to visit Washington, while Greece returned the invitation, inviting the US President to visit Athens.
Karamanlis said he was “absolutely satisfied” with the content of the discussion, noting that the Greek side put forward all the basic issues concerning its foreign policy, such as the Cyprus problem and the FYROM issue.
On the FYROM name issue, Karamanlis reiterated Greece’s steadfast position in favour of the neighbouring country’s Euro-Atlantic prospects, but recalled the unanimous NATO decision at last year’s summit in Bucharest and the summit references to the need for a resolution of the issue of a permanent name for FYROM.
Karamanlis noted that the existing problems need to be resolved on the basis of the contemporary perceptions, and not on the basis of perceptions that redirect to the 19th century.
He also addressed the Greek contribution to Afghanistan, warning that Afghanistan requires both humanitarian and economic solutions as well as military solutions.
The prime minister noted that Greece will assume command of Kabul International Airport (KAIA) in 2010 which will require an increase in the Greek presence in Afghanistan of between 30-40 people.
He added that a battalion specialising in bridge construction has been despatched to Afghanistan and Greece will also contribute substantially to the training programs for Afghani police forces.
Greece will also take part in humanitarian actions in Afghanistan, Karamanlis said.
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