Greek Prime Minister addresses Congress as part of Washington visit

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During an address to a joint meeting of Congress, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis discussed democratic values as NATO allies confront Russian aggression in Ukraine. 

Mitsotakis told representatives from the House and Senate that their shared values “are once again being tested.”

“Our shared belief in freedom over tyranny, in democracy over authoritarianism, in the fundamental importance of respect for the rule of law over war and anarchy,” said Mitsotakis. 

The Prime Minister was in Washington this week to mark a Covid-delayed commemoration of the bicentennial of the start of the Greek War of Independence that led to the end of the Ottoman Empire’s occupation. 

His trip is aimed at reinforcing his country’s strong energy and defence cooperation with the United States at a time of global unrest.

In inviting the Prime Minister to make the address, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi noted the “unshakable bond” between the two countries as the US founders drew on the ancient Greek ideals of liberty and democracy. 

“Our nations are key allies on the world stage,” Pelosi said.

“As our world faces a pivotal moment in the fight between the forces of democracy and autocracy, the transatlantic alliance remains vital to the future of freedom in the world.”

But the celebratory moment was shadowed by the most significant fighting on the continent since World War II, and as Biden seeks to keep the West unified as it pressures Russia to end the war.

President Joe Biden welcomed Mitsotakis to the White House on Monday and thanked for his country’s “moral leadership” in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the two held talks about the ongoing conflict.

Biden praised Greece for showing “moral clarity” by quickly imposing sanctions against Russia following the Feb. 24 invasion, providing Kyiv with military assistance, and taking in Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict.

“We’re helping Ukrainians say no to Russian aggression,” Biden said. 

“And we’re saying no to tyranny, to the idea that autocracies will outpace democracies in the 21st century, because that’s what is at stake here in my view.”

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias, who is accompanying the Prime Minister in Washington, also met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on this trip and discussed “the importance of Greece-US strategic relations.”

Dendias added that they had a “constructive discussion on the situation in Ukraine following Russian Invasion and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus issue and the Western Balkans.”

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias(Right), who is accompanying the Prime Minister in Washington, also met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken(Left).

As Europe looks to alternatives to Russian energy, Mitsotakis has pushed the idea of Greece becoming an energy hub that can bring gas, as well as renewable energies, produced in southwest Asia, the Middle East and Africa to eastern Europe.

“Greece plans to play an important role as a gateway for electricity produced from cheap, renewable sources,” Mitsotakis said.

A new Greece-to-Bulgaria pipeline is slated to bring large volumes of gas flow between the two countries in both directions to generate electricity, fuel industry and heat homes.

In addition to his address to Congress, Mitsotakis is scheduled Tuesday to be honoured at a luncheon hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and will meet with members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

Source: Ekathimerini, AMNA

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