Saturday, November 12, 2016
Obama: Greeks 'need hope'
November 12, 2016
In a wide-ranging interview with Kathimerini, US President Barack Obama insisted that he will continue to urge the country's creditors to take the necessary steps that will ensure Greece returns to growth, including “meaningful debt relief.”
Speaking ahead of his two-day visit starting on Tuesday, the outgoing US president said that Greece must continue on the path of necessary reforms, which he said can only be sustainable if people are given hope.
Obama praised bilateral ties, lauding Greece's contribution to the NATO alliance despite its “economic hardships,” and the close cooperation on counterterrorism. He also commended the “inspiring” generosity the Greek people have shown to the refugees.
Has Greece become a “front-line state” in terms of security, energy and dealing with international terrorism? What does this mean for the US-Greek relationship? What is the message you want to convey to the citizens of Greece?
First, I want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to visit Greece, and I thank Prime Minister [Alexis] Tsipras and President [Prokopis] Pavlopoulos for the invitation. My visit comes at a time when Greece is at the forefront of pressing challenges to our shared security and prosperity. The threat of terrorism from groups like ISIL endangers us all. The barbarity of the Assad regime in Syria and ISIL has contributed to the waves of migrants and refugees that have sought refuge in Europe, especially Greece. And on both sides of the Atlantic, we face the task of ensuring that our political institutions and economic policies are responsive to our people, many of whom feel that they have been hurt by globalization and trade.