American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 
Facebook Image
Ambassador Thomas J. Miller Discusses Important Developments In Greece At AHI Noon Forum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
July 26, 2002 No. 39/02 (202) 785-8430

Ambassador Thomas J. Miller Discusses Important Developments In Greece At AHI Noon Forum

WASHINGTON, DC -- On July 23, 2002, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Thomas J. Miller was featured as guest speaker at the American Hellenic Institute's (AHI) Noon Forum, held at Hellenic House. Ambassador Miller's discussion centered on recent developments in Greece on various fronts, with an emphasis on the rapidly evolving case against the Greek terrorist group November 17.

Ambassador Miller praised the Greek government for its recent breakthrough against the November 17 terrorist organization, saying "there was a lot of work that's been done, a lot of training… a lot of transfer of expertise. But I want to make one thing very, very clear. That is the Greek government deserves the credit for what happened."

Ambassador Miller also attributed the recent string of arrests of suspected November 17 members to a number of collaborating factors. First, he underscored the importance of the role played by the Greek Minister of Public Order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, saying " I think he's very driven and I think he's instilled a sense of purpose in the people who work for him. And there is no substitute for hard work and that kind of intensity of purpose."

Another important factor in exposing November 17 has been the tremendous change in Greek public opinion, credit due in large part to the families of the victims who have appealed to the general public with stories of their own loss and suffering. "I think that had a tremendous impact, particularly in the short time that I've been in Greece," said Ambassador Miller.

Also crucial was the law that was passed last year which grants witness protection, introduction of DNA evidence, and composition of juries, among other items. All these conditions, and an element of luck manifest in the botched bombing plot that exposed purported November 17 member Savas Xiros on June 29, 2002, precipitated the series of arrests, according to the ambassador.

Ambassador Miller also discussed at length progress on Olympics preparations and security, noting that "the Greeks, particularly in the last several months, have really kicked into high gear on picking up the speed on venue construction." He also pointed out that, "We're working most closely with Greeks on Olympic security…. It's going to be a big challenge wherever the Olympics will be held just given the environment of the world today," citing Greece's collaboration with the six-country Olympic Security Advisory Group and $600 million budget devoted to security alone.

During his presentation, Ambassador Miller briefly discussed several other critical issues surrounding U.S. relations with Greece. High on the agenda is Cyprus-Greece-Turkey relations, particularly with elections coming up in Turkey in November. Also commended was the Greek government's continued cooperation in the war against terrorism.

On the economic side, the topic of U.S. investment in Greece was broached, with the ambassador noting that the relationship is healthy and growing, but there is "room for improvement," particularly in terms of creating easier entrée into the Greek market for U.S. companies. However, Ambassador Miller also pointed that, "The macros on the economic side are excellent. Debt is way down. The budget actually had a surplus last year. Inflation is…. down to EU-acceptable levels [in order] to qualify for the euro, and they did it. And that's a lot of really good news." This news, coupled with opportunities available through the Olympics, characterize Greece as an attractive investment opportunity.

For additional information about the AHI's Noon Forum featuring U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas J. Miller, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or chrysoula@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.