27 September, 2006
US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey on Monday noted Greece's important role in the Balkans, replying to a question on Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis' upcoming meeting with secretary of state Condeleezza Rice in Washington, during a regular press briefing.
Casey said that Rice was certainly "looking forward" to meeting with Bakoyannis.
"They have met previously as you know. Greece is, I believe, currently the President of the UN Security Council so I'm certain they'll talk about those issues. I expect they'll touch on a number of other bilateral concerns," he said.
"Certainly Greece is a good friend and NATO ally, has an important role to play in NATO as well as in the broader region in the Balkans. I know those issues will probably be things that will be on the agenda as well. Certainly she looks forward to seeing her," Casey added.
Bakoyannis, who was in New York for the 61st UN General Assembly and Security Council meetings, was due in Washington early Tuesday (Greek time) for a two-day visit during which she would have separate talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush's national security advisor Stephen Hadley and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, as well as meet with members of Congress, among them also with Senator Hillary Clinton.
Her discussions are expected to focus on the Greek Presidency of the UN Security Council, bilateral cooperation, international matters such as the situation in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Cyprus issue, Turkey's European prospects and energy safety.
Bakoyannis will speak at Georgetown University where she will attend the inauguration of the new Greek studies faculty at the university. Finally, she will inaugurate the new building of the Greek Embassy in the U.S. capital.
Source: Athens News Agency