PM Mitsotakis delivers historic address at joint session of US Congress (video)

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There is no greater honor for an elected leader of Greece, where democracy was born, to address the representatives of people who have defended democratic ideals strongly since the founding of their country, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during his address at the US Congress on Tuesday.

The Greek premier addressed a joint session of the US House of Representatives and the Senate, after an invitation by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the event with Vice President Kamala Harris. It is the first time a Greek prime minister addresses the American Congress.

"Our two countries always found themselves on the right side of history," Mitsotakis said, starting from the Greek War of Independence, which is celebrating its bicentennial.

Speaking of "special ties between the two nations during an era when our values are being tested," the Greek leader said one should today replace the name Greece for the war of independence with Ukraine, where defenders of the city of Mariupol defended their city like the fighters of Missolonghi in 1826, preferring death over loss of freedom.

Pelosi welcome

Mitsotakis was welcomed to the US Capitol by Pelosi, who said that Greece has been a source of democratic principles since antiquity and an inspiration for America's founders. Pelosi also expressed her appreciation for the US-Greece friendship through NATO and said the United States recognizes Greece's role in helping Ukrainian refugees, fighting the coronavirus pandemic and acting on climate change. "As I always like to say, we learned from the Greeks and the Greeks learned from us, and now we stand together as democratic nations."

In joint comments, Mitsotakis thanked Pelosi for the invitation, and he said that it was "a great privilege to address Congress and to delve deeper into this special relationship, also however to speak of the challenges democracy faces."

(Photo: EPA/Michael Reynolds)