With the magnificent Acropolis as is backdrop, the Chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr Robert Menendez, gave a stirring speech yesterday at the Acropolis Museum at the inaugural event of the Forum “Greece 2040”, stressing that Greece has a bright future ahead of it and is an ideal partner for the US.
Mr Menendez, a major figure in US foreign policy, and a longtime friend of Greece and Cyprus, underlined Greece’s long-standing relations with the US, while noting that Greece plays a leading role in the region promoting peace and stability in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The US Senator began his speech by saying how honoured he was to be in Greece to partake in an event part of the bicentenary celebrations for the Greek Revolution and thanked the “Greece 2021” Commission for organising the event and its president Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki for the invitation.
Mr. Menendez then referred to yesterday’s terrorist attack in Afghanistan at Kabul airport, expressing his condolences to the families of the American soldiers who lost their lives.
The American senator reminded his audience that Greece played an important role in the early days of the establishment of democracy in the USA, emphasizing that the ideas of the ancient Greeks for democracy and the rule of law inspired the leaders of the American revolution to proceed with the Declaration of Independence.
Greece’s struggle for independence won the admiration of Americans watching the heroic efforts of the Greeks, Menendez said, noting that the author of the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, sent a letter to Adamandio Korais, a major figure in the Greek enlightenment. In addition, Mr. Menendez also referred to American philhellenes who traveled to Greece at the time in order to contribute to Greece’s struggle for freedom and independence.
“Greek independence is an important achievement, a true example of the story of David and Goliath, and I am glad that these Americans were able to play a small role,” he said, adding that the United States continues to stand by Greece.
Menendez later stressed that the human race is fighting a deadly pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives and is having a serious impact on the world economy. At the same time, he stressed that the climate crisis is an existential threat that has devastated entire communities in both the US and Greece this summer.
On more regional matters, the US Senator did not neglect to mention Turkey, saying he hoped it would become a democratic and constructive partner who respects its NATO commitments and the commitments it has made with its neighbors in the region. The United States wants to support efforts in the region to improve relations and ease tensions, Menendez said, adding that too often the current Turkish leadership seems to want to fuel divisions in either the Eastern Mediterranean or the South Caucasus.
“I expect the United States to hold Turkey accountable for this behavior when it takes place and to stand by our historic partners and allies.”
Finally Mr Menendez expressed his optimism for the future of Greece, saying that “the possibilities that await Greece are inexhaustible” adding that the country is currently playing a leading role in the region by promoting peace and stability in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that the creativity of the Greek people will enable the country to reach new heights.
WATCH THE FULL SPEECH AT THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM HERE