President Obama and President Pavlopoulos Toast


President Pavlopoulos:
(As interperted) Mr. President, I welcome
you to Athens and to the presidency of the Republic
as the President of the United States of America,
who has constantly and consistently served with
respect for man, for the consolidation of peace and
the defense of democracy, and of its twin brother,
the social rule of law, by holding in check the extreme
inequalities which directly threaten social cohesion. We fully share those ideals. Let me be even
more specific. In this deep and prolonged
economic and social crisis, which is plaguing our
country and our people, for which we are far from being
the only ones to blame, I would like to point out the
following three things. First, we deeply believe in
representative democracy and in every one of its
institutional dimensions. We are especially inspired
by your emblematic constitutional tradition
of checks and balances. It is these that shield
popular sovereignty and parliamentary rule, as well
as the independence of justice from many arbitrary
interference by the executive, or, even more, by
the various instruments of globalization which lack
any democratic integrals. Second, we continue our
unwavering course within the European Union, and its
(inaudible) the Eurozone, despite the huge economic
and social burden of a mostly wrong and dead
end austerity policy. And in respect of this, Mr.
President, I was very happy to hear you point this out,
and I hope that your word will urge our European
partners to move in the right direction. Alongside our partners, with
which we share a true and selfless European path, we
fight to restore the values and principles which were
the foundations of European integration, mainly the
respect for man and for social justice. These are the principles
which will keep the nightmare of fascism and
Nazism left behind by World War II forever in
the dismal past. We never forget the decisive
contribution of the United States of America in that
war, so that Europe could hold back the fate of what
Mark Mazower called the “Dark Continent.” We will
always remember Omaha Beach in Normandy. Third, Mr. President,
we are responding with uncompromising dignity to
the huge refugee crisis, which you have called of
epic damage, which is mainly the result of
the war in Syria. We expect solidarity by our
European partners, and we expect that they will open
up their minds and listen to your opinion. In this we are inspired
by the ancient Greek institution of
the supplement. At the same time, we are
doing our part in the fight against the barbarism
of terrorism, which is committing crimes
against humanity. But, Mr. President, in
order to defend refugees and to stop terrorism, the war
in Syria and in the wider region must end. This is the common objective
and this requires harmonious cooperation of the U. S. , the EU, and Russia. And we are happy that
you were able to fully understand this truth and
have turned it into action with your wise and also
visionary policy, and therefore we start seeing
the first results — maybe late, but it is
never too late. Mr. President, we urge you
from here, from Athens, with its eternal, simple
Parthenon — the Parthenon of democracy and
civilization — to continue to serve the same ideals
after the end of your term. Your appeal will continue
into the future. In this future and very
promising journey, we would like you to take
Greece along. At this point, I’d like to
remember the words of the poet Odysseas Elytis,
“Please do not forget our country.” I will, therefore, conclude
my address by reminding you of what Andre Malraux said
in his memorable speech at the inauguration of the
illumination of the Acropolis on March 29, 1958,
“A secret Greece resides in the heart of all men of the
West.” It is this secret Greece that the Greek people
offer you as a gift during this visit, precisely
because we deem it worthy of the U. S. President, Barack Obama. Mr. President, on behalf of
the Greek people, I wish you personal health and success. And I ask you to convey the
Greek people’s sincere warm wishes for growth and
prosperity to our committed and great friends,
the American people. Once again, welcome,
Mr. President. (applause) President Obama: Kalispera. Mr. President, Mr. Prime
Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and
gentlemen: Once again, it is a great honor
to be in Greece. And on behalf of myself and
my delegation, on behalf of the American people, thank
you for the warmth that you’ve shown us
on this visit. Of course, your hospitality
comes as no surprise. As Pericles said in his
famous oration many centuries ago, “In nobility
of spirit, we differ from most others in the way we
conduct ourselves towards other people. We make friendships not by
receiving kindness from others but by conferring
it on others.” And we certainly have felt
the kindness of the Greek people conferred
on us today. I’ll have more to say in my
speech tomorrow about the ties of history and heritage
that bind our peoples together. Of course, that does include
our love of the Olympics. Greeks rightly take pride as
the founder of the Games — and in Leonidas of Rhodes
who, for 2,000 years, held the record for winning 12
individual gold medals, the most of any athlete. And we Americans take pride
in Michael Phelps, who set the new record this summer. Besides that friendly
competition, we are deeply grateful for our alliance
with the Greek people. I think that we have
inspired each other to reach for independence, stood in
solidarity during war and peace, in good times and in
bad, including these very difficult years for
the Greek people. And tonight I want you to
know that as you work to move your country forward,
you will always have the support and friendship
of the United States. I want to close with a
moment from our shared history. In 1821, as Greece began its
fight for independence, a Greek patriot wrote a letter
to the American government appealing for assistance. “Although a broad sea
separates us,” he wrote, “your virtues, Americans,
are close to ours.” And he added, “We consider
you as friends, co-patriots and brothers.” So, in appreciation for
our friendship and your hospitality, if I
might propose a toast. To the virtues and values
that unite us across a broad sea. May Greeks and Americans
always be there for each other — as friends, as
co-patriots, and brothers and sisters. Stin ygeia sas. Cheers.

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