The destinies of Greece and the United States have always been connected on the basis of freedom, democracy and the rule of law and the relationship between them has never been stronger, the chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee told an audience in Athens on Thursday evening.
“Greece is on the cusp of a great and exciting future,” Senator Bob Menendez, in Athens at the invitation of the Greece 2021 Committee, said. “We have come so far in such a short time … and there are no limits to what we can do together,”
In an address at the Acropolis Museum, Menendez said: “Rest assured, I have stood and will stand by Greece through all times.”
In an address interspersed with references to Greece and its commitment to independence and democracy, Menendez referred to Greece’s celebrations of the bicentennial of the War of Independence against the Ottomans.
The struggle had provided inspiration to Americans, who supported Greece materially, diplomatically, and in person, he said, noting that the historic ties between the two people were key to the long-term relationship of the two countries.
Departing from his prepared script, he condemned the “cowardly” bomb attacks in Kabul airport earlier on Thursday.
“This is an attack on America, an attack on poor souls desperate to escape the dismal prospects of Taliban rule.
“One thing is clear, we cannot trust the Talban with American security.”
Returning to his speech, Menendez focused on the values of democracy, and how these had sustained the relationship between Greece and the United States. He twice referred to himself as a son of Cuban immigrants who never dreamed he could become one of 100 senators, and expressed the wish that Greek democracy would come to the country of his birth also.
Frequently referring to democracy and its values, he recalled the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, noting that “it reminds us that we can never take these values for granted.”
Menendez spoke of the issues the world faces today, saying that never in his three decades as a senator did he “remember so many challenges to the future in the free world, at the same time.”
These challenges included the epic battle against a deadly pandemic, the existential threat of climate change, and the threat to the rule of law and international order.
Naming China, Russia and Turkey as aggressive nations that did not share these values, he said that democratic nations must work together to challenge them.
He underlined that “Greece is an ideal partner for the United States” and called its leadership exemplary in Europe, in its leading role in dealing with climate change, supporting clean energy and technology and innovation.
“Greece and Cyprus are linchpins of democracy in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said, adding that the US will leverage the tripartite partnership of these two with Israel.
He asserted he is committed to championing the tripartite partnership, as he is to the completion of the US-Greece Defense Partnership Act of 2021.