US Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed the support of the U.S. government and its solidarity with the Greek people, during a meeting on Friday with Greek Foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelos. Kerry and the Greek Foreign Minister met in the State Department, where he praised the efforts that the Greek government has been making to resolve the country’s economic difficulties.
Kerry also welcomed the Greek EU presidency, saying “I want to congratulate Greece on assuming the EU presidency and we look forward very much to working with them in that role, but also in continuing along the path of economic recovery.”
Kerry continued “We know that it has been very very difficult. Tough decisions have had to be made. It is never easy politically. Those choices were made, and I think things are improving.”
The Greek Foreign Minister stated that the six-month EU presidency “is a great opportunity for Greece to show the face of an ordinary European country, of a country beyond the crisis.”
Venizelos acknowledged that, “there is no doubt that the economic recession and national reconstruction will be a tough, while unemployment is major headache for the Greek government.”
The Greek government is making optimistic predictions that Greece’s economy will start recovering from 2014, after 6 years of deep recession. In addition, they predict that no further aid will be needed from its creditors after it exits the bailout program this year.
However many analysts believe that Greece’s economy will require more EU-International Monetary Fund assistance despite the fact that the country has achieved a primary surplus this year.
During the meeting between Kerry and Venizelos, counter-terrorism issues were discussed. According to the newspaper Ta Nea, the U.S. Secretary of State asked the Greek Foreign Minister why the State grants prison leave to terrorists. He called on the government to step-up its efforts to capture escaped former November 17 member Christodoulos Xeros. In response Venizelos said, “It was a bad application of a bad law.”