with Greek Prime Minister Konstandinos Simitis
The Oval Office
The White House
January 10, 2002
3:17 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Listen, we're so honored
you're here. Thank you so much for coming to America. There is a huge number
of Greek Americans who live in our country who have still got great fondness
for their -- for your country.
I am most appreciative, sir, of your strong stand against terror. You have been
a friend in our mutual concerns about routing out terror around the world and
I want to thank you for that very much.
I'm also very appreciative of your administration's working with Turkey. Relations
have improved with Turkey and, as a result, the world is better off. And I want
to thank you for your vision, for your foreign ministry's hard work to do what
is right for the world, to make the world more peaceful.
We've got a lot in common with your country; we've got a lot of interests in
common. I look forward to discussing those with you. I also look forward to
the Olympics. Thank you for your invitation. It's going to be a magnificent
moment for the sporting world to have the Olympics return to Athens. I'm confident
your country will do a fine job.
So welcome to the White House, we're so glad you're here.
THE PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm so very glad to
be here and have the possibility to discuss with you the problems -- the subjects
are interesting for us.
We are totally committed to the fight against international terrorism. And,
as you know, we take part in the Afghanistan effort. We will be part also in
the international peace corps in Afghanistan. And I think it's necessary to
cooperate in order to fight terrorism all over the world, because there are
also -- for example, in the Balkans, group terrorists, groups in all the Balkan
countries and we think that this must be controlled.
Thank you also for your appreciation for our effort concerning the Greek-Turkish
relations. We make -- we want more peace and stability in the region and this
is our main principle, how -- apply international laws that we have a southeastern
Europe that is really peaceful.
As you know, I showed you the coins of the new Euro.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
THE PRIME MINISTER: This means -- this means a big banking change for Europe,
because the whole environment will change. There will be a new feeling about
the possibilities of Europe and there will be new discussions on the new European
structures, on the necessity of new cooperation; and also of the necessity,
I hope, of a closer cooperation with the United States in order to solve the
So this is a new era and I'm very glad to be here to greet the new year.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Welcome.
Thank you, all.
QUESTION: You don't want to take a question?
THE PRESIDENT: I took them all this morning -- you just were in the wrong pool.