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Athens 26 August 2021

Meeting of President of Parliament with Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The commitment to the common values of Democracy, the respect of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, preserving Peace and Security in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the common understanding of modern-day global challenges, were expressed by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Constantine Tassoulas and the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert (Bob) Menendez during their meeting.

Also attending the meeting were the Chairwoman of the US-Greece parliamentary friendship group Dora Bakoyannis, the Secretary of the friendship Group Andreas Michailidis and the Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament George Mylonakis.

Mr. Menendez was accompanied by the US Ambassador in Greece Jeffrey Pyatt.

In the statements that followed their private meeting, Mr. Constantine Tassoulas said, inter alia:

“We are very happy and honoured to have with us here today, at the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Bob Menendez, a distinguished US politician and the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  

Mr. Menendez is a distinguished politician in the US who has made a decisive contribution to the recognition of the importance of the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean for global affairs. Peace, tranquillity, the upholding of international legitimacy and good relations between the countries of the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean are an important parameter affecting global affairs and international peace.

He has been a supporter, using very strong arguments, which he has disseminated widely across the US and around the world, in favour of Greece’s well-meaning and fair interests in the wider region. He has promoted the role of Greece as a factor for stability and prosperity in Europe, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. And every time our neighbouring country in the East, every time that Turkey, by violating the principles of the modern western world, undermines these perspectives and these values that I just described, Senator Menendez, the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is there, to put Turkey in its place and to explain to the US political system, with his integrity, that this ongoing, unacceptable provocations must come to an end.

He did not just see to the East Med Act (Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act), which is now law in the US, but is also promoting trilateral cooperation in the wider region. He has also seen to another important piece of legislation, on peace and progress, which has to do with defence and parliamentary cooperation between Greece, the US, Israel and Cyprus. A cooperation that the Hellenic Parliament considers auspicious and is very eager to implement.”

For his part, the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez expressed his particular satisfaction that the US recognises the importance of relations with Greece, not just for the US but for the world and stressed how important Greece is for stability and energy security in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Mr. Menendez also referred to the East Med Act and legislation on defence and inter-parliamentary cooperation which is ever increasing. He also mentioned that a new MoU is in the works that will deepen defence cooperation and hopefully it will be discussed and ratified by the Hellenic Parliament.

The US Senator referred to the fundamental role of the parliaments, noting that parliaments are just as important as governments in the deepening of relations. He also pointed out the common challenges the two countries face, such as the wildfires that Greece has been dealing with, climate change and a virus that knows no borders and doesn’t discriminate. “... some look at those things and say the sun is setting, I don’t think so. I see a rising sun, not a setting sun.”

Following the statements, Mr. Tassoulas guided Mr. Menendez around the exhibition “Beholding Liberty! At the Hellenic Parliament, two centuries later”. We should note that the US Senator is visiting our country on the occasion of the 200th anniversary since the start of the Greek Revolution.


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