08 April, 2005
U.S. Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries on Thursday expressed his country's support for efforts being made by the UN secretary general's envoy, Matthew Nimetz, to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Ries made his statement on the sidelines of an event organized by the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce at the Athens Concert Hall.
"Washington supports the efforts of Mr. Nimetz and, of course, it intends to accept whatever name is ultimately agreed by the two interested countries," he said.
Ries termed Greece a "dynamic, progressive country" in his address and, referring to the visit recently made to the United States by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, reiterated the words of the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "Greece is the best friend of the U.S. in the region."
The U.S. ambassador expressed support for the reunification of Cyprus, saying that Washington is expecting the Greek Cypriot side to respond to the request of the UN secretary general and set out its objections concerning the Annan plan accurately, while praising Greece's option to support Turkey's European prospects and noted that this stance can help a settlement of the Cyprus issue and of "Greek-Turkish differences in the Aegean."
Ries also referred at length to Greece's role in the Balkans, speaking of a "model country for the rest in the region."
Referring to finances, Ries, although referring to an expected slight drop after the end of the Olympic Games, said that Greece chose to take a bold step, "pulling the curtains" and implementing a policy of transparency and sincerity regarding its finances.
"As Dimosthenes also said reliability is the greatest qualification to acquire money," he said and made positive reference to the new development law which "promises to turn the attention of the economy to sectors which are open to international competition, such as tourism, informatics technology, fiscal issues, etc."
The American diplomat further said that bold reforms will probably be necessary regarding labor legislation, privatizations and social security.
Ries said he is in favor of the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline, but stressed that it must be economically viable.
Source: Athens News Agency