Remarks by A/S Reeker at the U.S. – Greece Strategic Dialogue

October 7, 2019

9:30 a.m.

Hilton Hotel

Ambassador Philip T. Reeker
Acting Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs 

Thank you for your opening remarks and your welcome, and let me thank you for Greece’s warm welcome to all of the participants who flew in from Washington to be part of this year’s Strategic Dialogue, and let me also thank you and Prime Minister Mitsotakis for the incredibly warm welcome we had this weekend for Secretary Pompeo, Mrs. Pompeo, and our team for a truly historic and important visit here to Greece.

As you noted, Minister, coming on the heels of the trans-Atlantic dinner at the UN General Assembly that Secretary Pompeo hosted and the Secretary’s incredibly successful visit here to kick off this round of Dialogue, I know that you and your team have put in an extraordinary amount of work to make all of this possible, and I want to thank as well my friend and colleague Ambassador Pyatt and his team here at the U.S. Embassy in Greece, who as always, have done an exemplary, extraordinary job of advancing the United States bilateral relations with Greece and supporting this entire process.

Greece is a key ally and partner of the United States, and as Secretary Pompeo has just said two days ago here in Athens, Greece is a pillar of stability in this region. When we launched the Strategic Dialogue process last December, we were making a strategic investment in the relationship between the United States and Greece and at an incredibly important geopolitical moment. And if you look back at what we’ve accomplished together this past year, I’d say that that investment has already paid off handsomely for both the United States and Greece and will continue to do so in a really comprehensive manner going into the future.

Across each of the pillars we will discuss today, there have been so many really truly impressive accomplishments since December of 2018. We have much to mark and much to celebrate as we look forward to what we’d like to accomplish in the coming year. Building on those successes, if last year’s Dialogue was an opportunity to think strategically about the relationship, I’d invite all of us to view the year ahead as an opportunity to go even further to turn strategic thinking into action that will bolster U.S.-Greece cooperation across so many fields.

This year, the strategic challenges in this vital region are no less great. China’s inroads and Russia’s dangerous and destabilizing activity lend urgency to enhancing our alliance and our cooperation, including in areas like energy, as you mentioned, Minister, and the people-to-people contacts and engagement which is so vital for future generations.

The update to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement annex that Secretary Pompeo and you, Minister Dendias, signed here in Athens two days ago is perhaps the highest-profile demonstration that the United States and Greece are implementing our mutual commitment to deepen the bilateral relationship. Having taken that step, we want to hear more about your government’s views on where to take our cooperation in the future. And I look forward to a day of great discussion here, I am delighted to be here representing Secretary Pompeo, and I thank you, Foreign Minister, and the government of Greece for hosting us. Thank you.

U.S. Participants:

A/S Philip T. Reeker (lead),
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R.  Pyatt
Department of Homeland Security SOPDUS Chad Wolf
Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Manisha Singh,
State Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent D. Longsdon|
Department of Defense DASD  Andrew Winternitz
Department  of Energy  DAS Joseph Uddo
MG Kramer
Commerce Regional Senior Commercial Officer David McNeill
Department of Justice Ken Harris
Deputy Chief of Mission David Burger