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Remarks Welcoming President Konstandinos Stephanopoulos of Greece

May 09, 1996

President Stephanopoulos, members of the Greek delegation, distinguished guests. On behalf of the American people, I am delighted to welcome President Stephanopoulos to the White House. It is an honor to return the warm hospitality the people of Greece showed the First Lady when she visited their wonderful country in March.

Two thousand five hundred years ago, the birth of democracy in Greece lit the landscape of Western civilization. Greek architecture, poetry, philosophy, and law set new standards for human achievement and new measures for human progress. Today, we Americans share with Greece the glory of that ancient legacy. We join with Greece, our ally and our friend, in raising democracy's flag around the world. For a half century, from World War II to the Persian Gulf, our nations have stood together in defense of shared ideals. Now we are working to build a bright future of security, prosperity, and peace. The strengthening of our relations in recent years has paved the way to closer cooperation to the benefit of our own people and all the world. In Bosnia, our soldiers serve side by side to help the peace take hold. Throughout the Balkans, from Albania to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, America looks to Greece to be a force of peace and stability.

And we must stand as one against the deadly scourge of terrorism. May I express, once more, on behalf of all Americans our deep condolences to the families and friends of the 17 Greek citizens who were murdered in Cairo last month.

The partnership between America and Greece is reinforced by the bonds of family. All across our country, Americans of Greek descent have added to the richness and the warmth of America's quilt. The values they have brought here to their adopted home—love of family, faith, and community, taking responsibility, working hard—have flourished in America, and they have helped America to flourish.

Mr. President, among the countless gifts that Greece has shared with the world, few capture the human heart like the Olympics. This year, the United States is proud to host the centennial of the modern Olympic games. The torch that Hillary had the honor to kindle when she visited your country in Olympia carries the spirit of the past, the promise of this moment, and our common hopes for the future. May its flame burn as strong as the enduring ties between America and Greece.

Again, Mr. President, we welcome you and ask for your remarks.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:13 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Welcoming President Konstandinos Stephanopoulos of Greece Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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