US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was given a tour of the Ancient Agora of Athens at noon on Tuesday by the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni. The guided tour took place in the context of the 4th round of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue.
"Today begins the fourth round of the strategic dialogue between Greece and the USA. One of the key areas is cultural cooperation," Mendoni noted.
"A little while ago I had the pleasure and the honour of signing the Action Plan with Mrs. Lee Satterfield, my counterpart at the US State Department, that is, the plan with which we will proceed over the next four years.
"We are interested in all areas of cultural heritage protection and the strengthening of modern cultural creation.
"We have already ratified, with our signature, the memorandum of cooperation between the US and Greece to limit the import of cultural goods into the US that are illegally trafficked. This allows us - and we already have tangible results - to return cultural goods from the USA to Greece.
"Also, an area of particular interest to both countries is the exchange of know-how for the skills of staff, artists, and workers in the film industry.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American Embassy in Athens, under the auspices of both the American and Greek governments, promote this kind of strategic cooperation in the film industry.
"Last, but very important, are our joint actions to protect cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, from the consequences of the climate crisis. We already held a joint seminar last September with the State Department.
"This will be repeated next autumn somewhere in northern Greece, probably in Thessaloniki."
Earlier on Tuesday, 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.
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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