American Hellenic Institute Awards Dinner: Remarks by U.S. Ambassador David D. Pearce, May 27, 2015

American Hellenic Institute Awards Dinner
U.S. Ambassador David D. Pearce

U.S.-Greek Ties

Grande Bretagne Hotel

Wednesday, May 27, 2014 9:00 p.m.

Αξιότιμες κυρίες και κύριοι, καλησπέρα σας,

Είναι τιμή για μένα να βρίσκομαι εδώ σήμερα στην τελετή απονομής βραβείου γιά τον κύριο Κωνσταντίνο Γαλάνη, και γιά τα Σχολεία Αμερικανικής Παροικίας Αθηνών.

Σας ευχαριστώ θερμά για την ευγενική σας πρόσκληση.

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.  It’s a pleasure to speak again to the American Hellenic Institute delegation and the many distinguished guests here tonight.

The American Hellenic Institute has been a powerful voice advancing issues of interest to Greek-Americans and Greece since 1974.  AHI not only focuses on public policy, but also on the achievements of individuals and institutions that strengthen the ties between Greece and the United States.

As I noted at this awards ceremony last year, the United States and Greece share a deep and historic relationship.  Our two countries are most powerful when we are cooperating as close partners – especially during times of uncertainty.  Through NATO and other organizations, the U.S. and Greece have worked together for over 60 years to make the region safer and more stable.  I am glad to say that our alliance and ties are as strong as ever.

But we all know Greeks are suffering.  And as I have repeated many times, the U.S. wants to see Greece emerge from this long economic crisis stronger and stable and playing a stabilizing role in the region.  We will continue to do all we can to see Greece and its partners come to an agreement, not only for the continued stability of Greece, but for the stability of the eurozone and the wider region.

We have encouraged Greece to continue to work closely and collaboratively with its European and IMF partners to implement credible and concrete reforms that make the economy more competitive, productive and open to trade and investment.  Such reforms will be important to unlocking new financial assistance to help Greece through its current liquidity crisis and beyond.

You may also know that the United States has been in close consultation with Greece on energy diversification.  We continue to encourage support for projects that will increase Greek and European Union energy security, reduce Greece’s dependence on a single supplier of gas, increase competition, and reduce prices for consumers.  These projects can turn Greece into an energy security leader in Southeastern Europe.

Regional security, the economy, and energy diversification are just a few of the many areas where the United States and Greece have close, ongoing, and productive dialogue.

Now the United States and Greece may not always agree on every issue, such as Greece’s recently passed legislation that could potentially free November 17 terrorist Savvas Xiros, whose organization killed five U.S. mission employees.  When disagreements like this occur, the United States and Greece have a mature enough relationship to express our differences of opinion openly, and to try to find common ground and resolution.

Like AHI, the U.S. government is fully engaged on a range of critical issues.  We both value and respect our important relationship and will continue to do all we can to ensure these ties endure.

So with that, let me close by offering my congratulations to tonight’s honorees.

I am proud that the United States offered Mr. Constantine Galanis the opportunity for a world class education, leading him to his position as CEO of one of the largest chemical manufacturers of Mexico.  Congratulations, Sir, on your achievements.

And to the American Community Schools, represented here tonight by ACS’s Chairman of the Board Suheil Sabbagh and ACS President Stefanos Gialamas, a warm congratulations.  Since its establishment, the school has been an essential part of our American community here.  ACS has maintained its reputation for excellence, innovation, and loyalty to the U.S. model of primary and secondary education, which is so critical to so many families in Athens.  And I might add – the children of many U.S. diplomats have passed through its doors.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to Nick Larigakis and American Hellenic Institute for  tonight’s celebration of the strong and enduring partnership between the United States of America and Greece.

Thank you very much.