US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided yesterday during a visit to Athens the public support for Greece’s efforts to rescue its economy that the government had craved.
“The United States strongly supports the Papandreou government’s determination to make the necessary reforms to put Greece back on a sound financial footing and to make Greece more competitive economically,” said Clinton, who met with Prime Minister George Papandreou, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis and President Karolos Papoulias.
Athens had wanted an endorsement from Clinton to help ease concern in international markets about Greece’s future.
Clinton recognized the difficulties that the austerity measures are causing, likening it to “chemotherapy,” but said that Washington, where the International Monetary Fund is also based, believes they will help secure the viability of Greece’s economy.
“I am not here to in any way downplay the immediate challenges because they are real,” she said. “But I am here to say that we believe strongly that this will give Greece a very strong economy going forward.”
Clinton was accompanied by a number of top State Department officials, indicating the importance the US is attaching to the Greek crisis. Among those officials were Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and the US Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar.
Clinton also thanked Greece for providing the use of its military bases for NATO-led operations in Libya.