US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with members of the Greek special disaster management team (EMAK) and the Hellenic National Centre of Emergency Care (EKAV) who traveled to Turkey and contributed to the rescue searches in the areas affected by the devastating earthquake.
Present at the meeting were the Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Christos Stylianidis and the American Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis.
The American Secretary of State thanked the members of EMAK and EKAV for their contribution to saving human lives and expressed his gratitude for the work they offer.
"Following the invitation of the American Embassy and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, we are here with a team from EMAK and people from EKAV, as well as two dogs from EMAK, so that he can recognise the work of these people," said Stylianidis after the meeting .
"What they did by going to Turkey from the first groups, so that they could save lives" the minister added.
Furthermore, he emphasised that it is very important that there is this recognition from this high level on the part of the American government.
"Recognition is something that encourages them to continue in this great and difficult effort that they do when there are natural disasters. What they did in Turkey they can do anywhere," he added.
Finally, Stylianidis underlined that "their great effort, like the rest of the humanitarian aid, which was very targeted from the first night, was something that changed the climate in the relations between the two peoples".
During the meeting, Christos Stylianidis presented Blinken with a helmet of the EMAK Fire Department, specialist for earthquakes, which has the signatures of all the members of the rescue mission in Turkey that rescued five people.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Greece-US relations are strategic and have reached the highest level.
"The Strategic Dialogue concerns seven important areas. It is a tangible proof of the dynamics of Greece's relations with the US. Strategic relations, which have reached the highest level. A solid basis of our bilateral relations are our common principles and values: freedom, democracy, human rights, our adherence to International Law and the principles of the United Nations Charter," Dendias said.
The upward dynamic of bilateral strategic relations was sealed by the two defence cooperation between Greece and the US, the foreign minister said. He pointed out that their signature proves that in a constantly changing environment, Greece is recognised as a pillar of stability and security.
He also reiterated that the Greek foreign policy strategy is based on the full application of the rules of International Law and the International Law of the Sea, on respect for the principles of the UN Charter, the protection of human rights and the condemnation of the threat or use of force.
Dendias underlined that from the first moment, Greece offered assistance to Ukraine, immediately agreed with the decisions and sanctions against Russia in the context of its participation in the EU and the UN. In addition, he noted that the Parliament ratified in a short period of time the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.
Cooperation between Greece and the US has never been closer, and this reflects the high priority given by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Blinken said on Tuesday during joint statements with Dendias after the launch of the 4th Greece-US Strategic Dialogue in Athens.
Blinken once again thanked Dendias and the Greek people for the immediate and important help that Greece offers to the victims of the earthquake in Turkey.
Met Foreign Minister @NikosDendias and discussed our recent trips to Türkiye and the urgent assistance required to rebuild from the devastating earthquakes. An important @NATO Ally, I appreciate Greece’s steadfast support of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/AvoyshPXCo
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 21, 2023
Defence cooperation is the backbone of the cooperation between the US and Greece, the US Secretary of State underlined and added: Since the signing of the defense agreement update last year, the militaries of the two countries have been conducting exercises together.
It is something very important for the promotion of peace and stability throughout the region.
Greece and Turkey are our partners, allies, friends and we continue to cooperate with them and through NATO for security in the region, to resolve issues diplomatically and to avoid threats that only increase tension, Blinken noted.
He added that if the differences are resolved - or when they are resolved - greater opportunities will open up than those we see today for the Greek and Turkish people.
Summarizing, the head of the State Department said that it is important for our friends, our partners to diplomatically and peacefully deal with their differences and that the US will support these efforts.
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