US President Joe Biden has thanked Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for Athens’ “moral leadership” following the Russian invasion in Ukraine in late February.
During a visit at the White House, Biden praised Mitsotakis and spoke about how the democratic ideals in ancient Greece had inspired America’s founding fathers.
“Sadly, Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine is also about a threat to democracy from autocrats who want to bear down on rules-tested orders and rules-based orders,” Biden said.
Mitsotakis also made references to America’s founding fathers who had been “inspired by the ideals of Athenian democracy.”
Mitsotakis’ visit came a day after the Biden administration asked Congress to approve the sale of weapons and equipment upgrades to Turkey’s fleet of American-made F-16 fighter jets
“We fought in wars together. And, of course, we are now facing, united, the challenge of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine,” Mitsotakis said.
But the Greek premier also said his visit, which had been previously delays due to COVID, was an opportunity to reassess the status of the relationship between the two countries.
“I honestly believe it is at an all-time high. And I’m not just speaking about the defense component of the relationship, but I’m also speaking about trade investment,” Mitsotakis told Biden.
After private talks between the two sides, Biden hosted a reception at the White House attended by about 200 guests, including Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of the Orthodox Church in the Americas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez.
Mitsotakis’ visit came a day after the Biden administration asked Congress to approve the sale of weapons and equipment upgrades to Turkey’s fleet of American-made F-16 fighter jets.
Turkey has been reluctant to okay NATO expansion for Nordic countries Finland and Sweden, but political pundits say Ankara could capitalize on signs of thawing relations between NATO allies responding to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Mitsotakis was also scheduled to address Congress during his trip, with reports saying several pro-Greek lobbies have been mounting efforts to stop Washington’s rapprochement with Ankara, including upgrades of F-16 jets.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was also flying to Washington a day after Mitsotakis’ visit.
Athens has also been seeking project deals on energy, including a Greece-Bulgaria interconnector to compete with Russian gas and floating storage facilities for LNG that could make the country a regional hub in a post-Ukraine-war world that seeks less dependence on Russian energy.