Joe Biden assures PM of US solidarity
US Vice President Joe Biden, on a visit to Athens on Monday, emphasized Washington?s ?solidarity? with Greece in the latter?s efforts to emerge from a debt crisis, stressing that a Greek recovery was ?overwhelmingly in the interest? of the US.
In comments before talks with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, Biden said the US was prepared to help Greece ?in any way we can.?
?We stand by you in solidarity as you meet some very difficult requirements from the IMF and European Union,? Biden said, referring to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, which on Monday approved its share of an 8-billion-euro aid package for Greece.
?It is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States that Greece work its way through this financial crisis and that it remain a strong and vital part of the European Union,? Biden said.
Papademos said US support for Athens had been ?significant and consistent.?
Biden, who arrived in Athens late on Sunday after visiting Iraq and Turkey, also discussed with Papademos issues of regional concern including the Cyprus problem and developments in the Balkans. Another topic broached in talks, sources said, was yesterday?s ruling by the International Court of Justice according to which Greece was wrong to veto the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from accession talks with NATO in 2008 because of a dispute over the Balkan state?s name.
According to sources, Biden said the ruling would not change Washington?s stance, namely that Athens and Skopje resolve the name row.
Biden also met President Karolos Papoulias, socialist PASOK leader and former PM George Papandreou and conservative New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras.