The US looks to Greece as a pillar of stability in promoting democracy and prosperity in the wider region, US Senator Robert Menendez said after a meeting with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Athens Friday.
“We consider Greece a pillar of stability in terms of the promotion of democracy and prosperity in the wider region and we will continue to cooperate for the meeting of this goal,” said Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He also criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he had failed to meet the expectations of western governments.
“We always wished Turkey to function as a bridge between the East and the West, as a secular government, as a good ally which would promote democracy,” but “unfortunately President Erdogan did not meet those expectations and we must deal with the current reality.”
Commenting on tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean , Menendez said that “every country should have its own guaranteed rights to an exclusive economic zone,” adding that any disputes should be resolved on the basis of international law.
“We are called to choose between two viewpoints: On one hand we have our common belief, to promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights, we respect individuals and this allows the creation of free communities. On the other hand, there is the authoritarian and arbitrary view that oppresses the people and finally undermines the rule of law, legality and the law of the sea,” he said.
In his comments, Dendias condemned the Islamic State terrorist attack at Kabul airport Thursday in which more than 100 people were killed, including at least 13 US service members and 90 Afghans.
Calling Menendez “a true friend of Greece,” Dendias praised his contribution to the reinforcement of “strategic ties” between the two NATO allies.
He added that there is a common understanding in Athens and Washington that the strategic relationship between the two countries is not directed against any third party.
“However, [the relationship] reflects the important role that Greece plays in promoting international law, security and stability in the region,” Dendias said.
“I’m talking about values that the United States also embraces and supports,” the Greek foreign minister said, adding that he is looking forward to visiting Washington in October.