U.S. President Donald Trump said his country supports “responsible debt relief” for Greece, while Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said there is a “fruitful perspective” in relations between the two countries, during a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden, on Tuesday.
The American president spoke of defense issues, energy and trade and supported investments in debt-ridden Greece. He said that Greece is a “beautiful country” with lots of “potential”.
“We’re also making great strides in our economic cooperation. The American people stand with the Greek people as they recover from the economic crisis that has recently afflicted their nation,” Trump told reporters.
“I’ve encouraged the prime minister in his continued implementation of reforms and I have totally reaffirmed our support for a responsible debt relief plan. A strong and flourishing Greece provides immense opportunity for American trade, investment and job creation,” said Trump.
Trump added that the relations between Greece and the United States have “long and durable” bilateral relationships.
“I also commend Greece on being one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least two percent of the GDP on defense,” he said, while also thanking the country and its government for hosting U.S. Naval Forces in Souda Bay, Crete, adding that Greece is one of the few countries that keep their military spending above NATO’s target.
Commenting on their bilateral talks, he said that Greece is planning to upgrade its fleet of F-16 military jets. “My administration has also informed Congress of a potential sale to Greece to upgrade its F-16 aircraft. This agreement to strengthen the Hellenic Air Force is worth up to 2.4 billion dollars and will generate thousands of American jobs,” he said.
On energy, the president said he appreciates Greek contributions to European energy security through its support of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP); the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (GBI), and the liquefied natural gas facilities that are capable of transporting diverse sources of energy to Europe; including potential liquefied natural gas exports from the United States.
“These initiatives make both our people safer and create jobs,” the U.S. president noted.
Tsipras says Greek-American relations are at their best since WWII
In turn, the Greek Prime Minister said that Greek-American relations are at their best; possibly since World War II, are based on mutual respect and are fueled by U.S. support in helping Greece exit the crisis.
Tsipras said that Athens is looking forward to attracting significant US investments:
“I want to assure you that the meeting was very productive. I never felt threatened. On the contrary, I felt there is a fruitful perspective in order to overcome any differences that may exist and to see the common ground that is very important for the relations of our two peoples that are traditional and historical and for our common goals.”
In regards to Greece – Turkey relationships that have recently gone sour, Tsipras urged Turkey to stop its provocations in the Aegean adding that the country supports a just and sustainable solution for Cyprus.
Asked about whether he believed Turkey should remain in NATO, he reiterated Greece’s position that it supports both Turkey’s NATO membership and its EU course, noting however that the neighboring country must respect international law and treaties.
“Greece is following a new dogma of a multi-dimensional foreign policy, with its main objective to upgrade Greece’s role as a country, that is a pillar of stability and security in an unstable region,” Tsipras said.