Charles P. Ries, who assumed the post of US Ambassador in Athens just a few weeks ago, believes Greece is an «impressive country,» as it showed the world with its «tremendous success» in holding the Olympic Games. In his first interview since his arrival, Ries talked about the leading role Greece took during its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003. «That, plus the very impressive work on the Olympics, predisposed me to be very positive on prospects for working with Greece before I ever got here,» he said. Ries’s priorities in Athens are to bring about «productive dialogue and effective cooperation» on issues of foreign and economic policy from the Middle East to the Balkans, the Caucasus to Africa. Ries talks about Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the war against terrorism, noting that cooperation between the US and Greece was continuing on this issue.