It is a great honor for me to be here today, addressing such a distinguished audience.
American Hellenism is an integral part of our modern history.
It is the bridge between two countries that share common values and common principles.
We have worked together to help freedom and democracy prevail.
It is through your devotion that you keep our historical memory, alive. And it is through your efforts that you promote Hellenic interests.
Greece has changed.
With a strong democracy, a high level of growth and social cohesion, our country plays an important role in Southeastern European and Mediterranean-as a member of EU and NATO.
Thus, in a region where instability reigns, Greece can contribute towards the consolidation of democracy.
Moreover the experience, technology and know-how, acquired during Olympic Games, are an added value to our country΄s dynamic.
We proved that in organizing such a global event in a secure environment, size does not matter. It is quality, and most importantly, will that counts.
Will to motivate people and utilize resources, towards a common vision.
- And this was the directions we gave to our plan:
- Coordination between all involved bodies
- Training of the personnel
- Use of technology
- International cooperation
Those assets turned our Olympic Security Plan into a valuable model, within the international environment of insecurity.
At this point I would like to underline one thing: global terrorism requires the strength of global response. And this is something that we, Greeks, and I personally, as the Minister in charge of the secure organization of the Olympic Games, realized better that anyone else.
Organizing the first Olympic Games after 9/11 was a great challenge for our country.
No other country at that time did have an integrated security plan for events of such scale.
At this point, allow me to make a special comment on our cooperation with USA. Last May, during my visit to the US, I had the opportunity to meet with high-ranking officials for the preparation of the Olympic Games. The US assistance focused specifically on:
- Intelligence exchange
- Personnel training (2500 police officers were trained in the USA)
- Readiness exercises
- Provision of equipment
- Counterterrorism plans
We did a successful job.
Our Security Plan was complete and effective. We organized the first secure Games in modern Olympic History. Everybody who visited our country this summer felt completely secure and witnessed a unique atmosphere.
Moreover, our effort to secure the Olympics did not come at the expense of human rights.
All Greeks should be proud of this accomplishment.
It is due to this success that Greece today enjoys global recognition and respect.
This added value is both an opportunity and a challenge for us to evolve Greece into a peripheral power.
In this effort, we rely on international cooperation. Particularly, our collaboration with USA can contribute towards this direction. Our common past can guarantee a promising common future.
Greece, as a factor of stability in the area can undertake initiatives for the consolidation of peace, security and prosperity.
A very first step towards this direction is the establishment of a Balkan and Mediterranean Centre for Security Research and Training. The purposes of this centre could-among others-be:
- To train and specialize people from different security services
- To facilitate strategic and tactical exercises
And all these will be done with the participation and support of USA and other European countries.
As a result, we will establish a common ground, on the basis of which we can answer to the new security threats.
I will say it again: The means to confront the terrorist threat rests in our ability to work together. It΄s not a national task. It is a matter closely related with international security and stability.
Ladies and Gentlemen
In order to establish our country?s new perspective and role within Balkans and Mediterranean, we rely on you.
We need you to promote the values we share, to promote the country we love.
We need your support, we need the power you have to influence decision-making centers, people you know and places you live in.
All these years you did something unique.
You underlined Hellenism΄s rights and claims to the American public opinion.
You kept the traditions of a priceless heritage alive, for the generations to come.
You spread Hellenic spirit around the globe.
Today, it is time to take the next step.
It is time to work together for modern Greece. Greece of hope, Greece of expectation, Greece of democracy and a promising future in a world of less fear and more dreams