Joe Biden

Remarks by the Vice President and Greek Prime Minister Papademos at a Lunch Meeting in Athens, Greece

December 05, 2011

PRIME MINISTER PAPADEMOS: (Opening remarks offered in Greek not translated.)

Now in today's meeting, we will have the opportunity to have substantive and productive discussions on important issues of mutual interest, and also we'll have an opportunity to explore on how we can further strengthen cooperation in the two countries. We will discuss how we can foster the economic relations between the two countries and also the economic process we being implemented in Greece in order to address the economic challenges we are facing.

We will also have an exchange of views on major international and regional issues and on cooperative efforts in these -- and special attention will be paid on developments in Cyprus, the distant Mediterranean, Northern Africa, as well as the Balkans. These are areas where cooperation between the U.S. and Greece can play an important role in preserving stability and security.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for meeting with me.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. On behalf of the President who -- I know you've already spoken to President Obama -- I am here to tell you that we stand with you in solidarity as you meet some very difficult requirements of the IMF and the European Union in this difficult time for Greece. And we stand prepared to help you in any way we can.

As you pointed out, Mr. Prime Minister, we have been friends for a long time. We share the same value set. We're NATO allies, and it is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States that Greece work its way through this financial crisis and that it remain a strong and vital part of the European Union.

You have a difficult job, but it appears as though all the political parties and the people of Greece have agreed to support you in this difficult time. And we are pleased with that.

But we have many other things in common and many other mutual concerns, and we will discuss them ranging from the Aegean, to the Balkans, to the Middle East, to North Africa and Cyprus.

And I think that out of difficult times opportunities present themselves. And with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck a year from now, we will have not only weathered this crisis but even be in a stronger position. So let's get to work. (Laughter.)

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by the Vice President and Greek Prime Minister Papademos at a Lunch Meeting in Athens, Greece Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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