THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press
November 20, 1999
Measures to Strengthen U.S.-Greek
On the occasion of President Clinton's State visit to Greece, the
United States and the Hellenic Republic announce the following new initiatives
President Clinton and Prime Minister Simitis have formally
launched the Initiative for Technology Cooperation in the Balkans (ITCB), which
will bring together scientists, business leaders and government officials who
are committed to modernizing the region's technological infrastructure.
Greece's location and advanced development make the country a natural
connection to the emerging democracies and markets of Southeastern Europe.
The U.S. Fulbright Exchange Program has established two new
programs -- Millennium Scholarships, which will provide assistance to up to 200
Greek students wishing to pursue Master's degrees in the U.S; and the Aegean
Communities Exchange, which will create joint research programs by Greek and
Turkish scholars. President Clinton recently announced that one of the
Millennium Scholarships will be named in honor of Yiannos Kranidiotis, Greece's
alternate Foreign Minister who died in a tragic air accident in
The Greek Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to allow the U.S.
to resume humanitarian grain shipments through Greece to other countries in the
region. This decision will allow the United States to provide much needed food
assistance to many of the Balkan and other Central European countries. Grain
shipments had been impeded due to Greek concerns about U.S. testing methods.
The U.S. and Greece have since agreed upon survey and regulatory control
activities designed to make the risk of disease negligible.
The U.S. Embassy and the Greek National Tourism Organization
(EOT) have reached an understanding confirming their desire to facilitate
tourism and business associated with tourism between the two countries. The
United States has committed to form a Visit USA Committee in Athens to promote
tourism to U.S. destinations. In addition, both countries will work to preserve
and enhance each other's cultural heritage, to encourage communication between
Greek and American cities, and to continue bilateral consultations.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will open a Commercial Service
office in Thessaloniki to encourage investments in the Balkans and to assist
companies in exploring commercial opportunities. This decision was made in the
wake of the conflict in Kosovo, in recognition of Greece's key role in
promoting stability in Southeast Europe. It reflects Thessaloniki's position as
a commercial hub for the region.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. State
Department have agreed to hold annual high-level talks on a wide range of
issues, as part of an effort to deepen and enhance communication, understanding
and cooperation between our two countries. Discussions will focus on areas such
as European regional issues, counter-terrorism, and economic
Due to the substantial progress made by Greece in addressing
the intellectual property rights issue, the President has announced that the
United States government will proceed rapidly towards a resolution of its World
Trade Organization (WTO) case against the Greek government for violating
television copyright laws. While U.S. industries estimate losses of $120
million in 1998, strong action by the Greek government reduced that amount by
over half this year.
The United States continues to be the top supplier to the
Greek armed forces. In 1998 and 1999, the Greek government announced plans to
buy more than $4 billion in arms from the U.S. and American businesses. There
has been a substantial increase in U.S. arms transfers to Greece during the
past twelve months after Greece made purchases of six Patriot Missile Systems
($1.2 billion), up to 70 Lockheed Martin F-16s ($2.4 billion), and 70 AMC
Humvees ($ 8.5 million). The U.S. fully supports Greece's defense modernization
plans, in the context of NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative.
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