Statements by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the beginning of their meeting in Chania

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Mr Secretary, it’s a real pleasure to welcome you to our house in Souda Bay and I can’t really think of a place that better symbolizes the depth of our strategic partnership than this place here, on the island of Crete. I’m very happy to welcome you at a time where I honestly feel that our bilateral relationship is probably at the best it has ever been.

These are difficult and challenging times for the region, and it is incredibly important for us to stand side by side, not just to work to further strengthen the relationship, but also to act as allies and to ensure that peace and stability returns to our troubled region. So, again, it’s a real pleasure to welcome you here.

Antony Blinken: Well, Prime Minister, I have to tell you, I’m really honoured, both on a professional but also personal level, to be welcomed here to your home. I have a lot of Greek friends back to the United States, I know what it means to actually welcome someone to your home and it means a lot, so thank you for that.

And I also have to agree strongly with you about the relationship between our countries. I’ve been doing this now for 30 years and I was saying to our Ambassador, to our wonderful Ambassador George Tsunis, that I don’t remember a time when the relationship, the partnership, the friendship between the United States and Greece was stronger. Of course, it goes to the affinity between our people, but it also goes to leadership, and in particular, your leadership. We’re grateful for that.

We are standing together, facing some of the most acute challenges that we’ve seen. But the fact that we’re standing together, that we’re working together, whether it’s the defence of Ukraine, whether it’s for peace and stability in the Mediterranean, whether it’s dealing with the situation in the Middle East, Gaza, in so many other ways, that’s a tremendous source of strength and reassurance for the United States.

So I know we have a lot to talk about and really, that’s why I’m here. Your voice, your views, your council and your partnerships mean a lot to the United States. Thank you.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you very much.