The following statement was made public by the governments of Greece and the United States of America at the fourth Strategic Dialogue.
On February 21, 2023, the United States and Greece hosted the fourth United States-Greece Strategic Dialogue. It was held in Athens (Greece). The Strategic Dialogue was launched by Nikos Dendias, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States. It included high-ranking interagency representatives from both countries.
The United States and Greece are enhancing their cooperation through the Strategic Dialogue. The United States of America and Greece took this opportunity to emphasize their ever-stronger bilateral relationship and transatlantic partnership based on common values and interests. They also reaffirmed their willingness to strengthen cooperation in the following areas.
In the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, both Greece and the United States renewed their commitments to Europe's stability, peace and prosperity. Both countries expressed their support for Ukraine, and the defense of territorial integrity and sovereignty. The United States praised Greece's humanitarian assistance and defense to Ukraine. This included Greece's efforts in supporting Ukraine's EU aspirations and Greece's support in protecting Ukraine's cultural heritage. It also commended Greece's willingness to host people from Ukraine who are in need of protection. Both sides expressed their grief over the tragic earthquakes in Turkiye, Syria, and shared their views on the efforts they made to help the impacted populations. The United States and Greece also discussed developments in Eastern Mediterranean. They stressed the importance of respecting sovereignty and sovereign rights and international law. This includes the law of the sea. They also reiterated their commitment to strengthen their close cooperation and use all available means to ensure stability and security throughout the region. They also exchanged opinions on how to promote regional integration and security within the Western Balkans, where Greece plays a significant role. The United States of America and Greece applauded the ongoing cooperation and the working group meetings under the 3+1 format (Greece Cyprus Israel) and encouraged further collaboration through parliamentary interchanges. Both countries affirmed their commitment to protecting their borders and upholding international law regarding the treatment of refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and others. The United States expressed gratitude to Greece for hosting refugees and asylum seekers, including Afghans, and Ukrainians who were granted temporary protection. It also stressed the importance of supporting integration and meeting basic necessities.
Defense and Security
This is a crucial moment in Europe. Both sides reiterated their determination to mutually protect regional security through the protection of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The US emphasized the importance of the Port at Alexandroupoli for NATO's eastern flank defense and provided vital energy security. The United States and Greece both noted the increasing number of U.S. troops that are currently in Greece to exercise, transit through, or provisionally deploy there, in support of NATO Alliance. Both sides stressed the importance of continuing joint exercises and deepening cooperation to improve regional cooperation in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. The United States welcomed Greece's pledge to exceed the 2014 NATO Wales Summit Pledge. Both sides highlighted the efforts of Greece in military modernization and looked forwards to continuing cooperation on procurement of defense articles, such as F-35s. This will increase bilateral cooperation and NATO capabilities. Both sides were also pleased to approve a number infrastructure improvements projects that were discussed at the 108th Joint Commission Meeting.
Humanitarian Needs and Disaster Preparedness
The United States recognized the efforts of Greece's Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection to prepare for possible wildfires and emergency planning. Greece praised its active participation in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Reserve of Resources known as "rescEU", and efforts to stockpile emergency supplies. It also contributed to the EU reserve firefighting force. The United States welcomed additional technical assistance and expressed their desire to make further progress in areas like joint training, emergency equipment procurement and modernization of civil protection protocols. The United States invited members of the Hellenic Fire Corps for a study tour to the United States, organized by USAID and the U.S. Forest Service. Both sides expressed strong interest in the updating of the Protocol of Intention of Cooperation in Prevention and Response to Natural and Technological Disasters. They also wanted to increase cooperation between Greek authorities and U.S. entities like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private firms with expertise in emergency preparedness.
Energy and Environment
The United States and Greece stressed the importance of continuing cooperation in energy security and diversification. This was made more urgent by Russia's invasion and occupation of Ukraine. The United States praised Greece's achievements in projects that will increase regional energy security, such as the operationalization and planning for the North Macedonia – Greece Interconnector. They also commended Greece's efforts towards ensuring the Floating Storage Regasification unit in Alexandroupoli is operational before the end of this year. The United States welcomed the commitment of Greece to continue to look into opportunities to partner with USAID in order to integrate the electricity markets of Greece as well as its neighbours. Greece emphasized the value of natural gas discoveries made by Egypt, Israel, and Cyprus as potential sources of diversification of the region's energy mix. It also highlighted its own gas exploration projects off Crete as crucial to unlock the potential of the Eastern Mediterranean. The United States and Greece also highlighted the importance of advancing projects that can bridge Europe to Africa or Asia, including several electrical interconnectors. This will provide Europe with cleaner energy and support the region's economic growth. Greece reiterated its support of traditional energy infrastructure projects in Eastern Mediterranean. Both sides agreed that renewable energy infrastructure must be developed. Greece highlighted the opening of Kozani's largest solar park. The United States encouraged Greece that it would continue to work towards its ambitious goal of eliminating coal entirely by 2028.
Among the priority environmental initiatives that Greece highlighted at COP 26 was the GR-eco strategy, which aims to transform key islands into sustainable green destinations. It also stated its goal to designate ten percent of its oceans as non-fishing areas. The United States praised Greece's leadership in the environment field and congratulated it for hosting the 9th Our Ocean Conference 2024. This conference will lead international efforts to address issues such as ocean health and security, climate goals and shipping. The United States welcomed Greece's participation at the Green Shipping Challenge at COP 27, Both countries are looking forward to continuing their support for the Green Shipping Challenge at 28 COP.
Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement
The United States expressed gratitude to Greece for its law enforcement cooperation and extraditions. Both sides pledged to support mutual legal assistance requests as well as extraditions. The United States and Greece also stressed the importance of continuing to support each other's legal assistance requests and extraditions. This was in response to increasingly complex problems such as cybercrime and complex financial crimes. The United States applauded Greece’s recent decision to issue biometric IDs. This is a requirement for Greece to continue participating in the Visa Waiver Program. Both sides also agreed to support the long-term implementation at Athens International Airport of the Joint Security Program to improve mutual aviation security as well as counterterrorism goals. Greece shared information about recent legislation that was passed in compliance with EU directives. This included information on how it dealt with money laundering and prevented the premature release of convicted terrorists. Both sides agreed to intensify efforts to combat Trafficking in Persons. The United States of America and Greece both expressed their willingness to work closely in multilateral and bilateral forums on countering terrorist activities, including through the Global Coalition to Destroy ISIS.
Trade and Investment
Both sides welcomed another year of strong trade and investment between Greece and America and stressed the importance of reviewing the progress made by the U.S. – EU Trade and Technology Council. Greece supported the Joint Statement on Cooperation on Global Supply Chains, recognizing the importance of trade and secure supply chains. The kick-off meeting for the U.S.-Greece Science and Technology Agreement will be held by both sides. The importance of bilateral cooperation in sanitary and phytosanitary systems for entry of Greek agricultural products into the United States was highlighted by Greece. Thessaloniki International Fair has helped to position Greece as a technology hub and has encouraged increased U.S. investment in renewable energy and technology. Both sides were pleased to sign the 2022 Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism between the United States and Greece. They reaffirmed their commitments to promote tourism, investment opportunities and education in tourism. The United States recognized Greece's timely payment of its International Monetary Fund loans and for successfully exiting from the EU's enhanced economic supervision framework. These developments are a testament to Greece's credibility in foreign investment destinations. The United States and Greece both took note of Greece’s efforts to create a screening system for foreign direct investments. Both sides plan to continue cooperation on key infrastructure projects that are eligible for U.S. investment and DFC financial assistance. This is due to their contribution to energy security, such as the revival of the ElefsinaShipyards. Both sides recognized the importance in promoting women's economic success and removing systemic barriers to women participating economically. Greece has announced its participation to the International Counter Ransomware Initiative.
The United States of America and Greece renewed their mutual respect for democracy and its institutions. They also shared a commitment towards innovation and an appreciation of education as a driver of economic growth, equality, security, and peace. The United States felicitated Greece for hosting the 2022 Pharos Summit. This historic gathering brought 30 U.S. university representatives from America to Greece to discuss educational cooperation. Both countries welcome new opportunities to facilitate exchanges. They also note Greece's efforts to internationalize universities and increase student mobility with the United States. Both countries reiterated their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in cultural and educational collaboration. The U.S. delegation praised Greece for its Fulbright annual contribution increase and promised a similar increase in U.S. contributions, which will increase exchange program participation. The United States reiterated its support for exchanges, such as TechGirls, which promotes women's empowerment through STEM training, or the BridgeUSA program. This program currently has over 300 exchange visitors from Greece to STEM fields in the United States. Both countries pledged to continue implementation of the bilateral cultural property accord and agreed to collaborate on public outreach to combat looting and trafficking, and to increase museum exchange opportunities. The United States was praised by Greece for their 2022 support in the return of important Greek artifacts. Both countries expressed interest in a follow-up cultural heritage school in northern Greece to help protect Greece's cultural heritage sites from theft, trafficking, climate change, and other threats. The United States and Greece highlighted their common commitment to democracy and fighting disinformation through the Athens launch in May 2023 of the traveling "Democracy Collection" art exhibit.