George W. Bush photo

Remarks Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Konstandinos Simitis of Greece

January 10, 2002

President Bush. Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Listen, we're so honored you're here. Thank you so much for coming to America. There is a huge number of Greek Americans who live in our country who have still got great fondness for their— for your country.

I am most appreciative, sir, of your strong stand against terror. You have been a friend in our mutual concerns about routing out terror around the world, and I want to thank you for that very much.

I'm also very appreciative of your administration's working with Turkey. Relations have improved with Turkey, and as a result, the world is better off. And I want to thank you for your vision, for your foreign ministry's hard work to do what is right for the world, to make the world more peaceful.

We've got a lot in common with your country; we've got a lot of interests in common. I look forward to discussing those with you. I also look forward to the Olympics. Thank you for your invitation. It's going to be a magnificent moment for the sporting world to have the Olympics return to Athens. I'm confident your country will do a fine job.

So welcome to the White House. We're so glad you're here.

Prime Minister Simitis. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm so very glad to be here and have the possibility to discuss with you the problems—the subjects are interesting for us.

We are totally committed to the fight against international terrorism. And as you know, we take part in the Afghanistan effort. We will be part also in the international peace corps in Afghanistan. And I think it's necessary to cooperate in order to fight terrorism all over the world, because there are also, for example, in the Balkans, group terrorists, groups in all the Balkan countries, and we think that this must be controlled.

Thank you also for your appreciation for our effort concerning the Greek-Turkish relations. We make—we want more peace and stability in the region, and this is our main principle, how—apply international laws that we have a southeastern Europe that is really peaceful.

As you know, I showed you the coins of the new euro.

President Bush. Yes.

Prime Minister Simitis. This means—this means a big banking change for Europe, because the whole environment will change. There will be a new feeling about the possibilities of Europe, and there will be new discussions on the new European structures, on the necessity of new cooperation, and also of the necessity, I hope, of a closer cooperation with the United States in order to solve the common problems.

So this is a new year, and I'm very glad to be here at the beginning of the new year.

President Bush. Well, thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Welcome.

Thank you, all.

Q. You don't want to take a question?

President Bush. I took them all this morning; you just were in the wrong pool.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:17 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Prior to the President's remarks, Prime Minister Simitis presented him with an Athens 2004 Olympic sweatshirt.

George W. Bush, Remarks Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Konstandinos Simitis of Greece Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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