April 3, 2012 -- New York -- Greek Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, on a visit to New York, met with a group of AJC leaders over lunch at the global advocacy organization’s headquarters. The visit was part of the minister’s three-day visit to the United States. He is meeting today with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Washington, DC.
‘Minister Avramopoulos is a treasured friend of AJC,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “We value his commitment to strengthening Greek-U.S. and Greek-Israeli defense cooperation, as befits these three democratic nations.”
The Defense Minister will return to Washington in a month to address AJC’s Global Forum on May 3.
Speaking with National Greek TV at AJC after the off-the record luncheon, Avramopoulos praised the increasingly cooperative relations between Greece and Israel. The bilateral relationship is a “strategic alliance,” said Avramopoulos. Indeed, Greece, Israel and the U.S. are currently holding joint military exercises in the Mediterranean.
AJC’s close relations with Greece span more than three decades, and include close cooperation with Greek American leaders. In October, AJC honored Andrew Athens, long-time head of the Greek American community. Meetings with senior government officials in Athens take place frequently. In addition, the Greek Jewish community is an AJC international partner. AJC last traveled to Greece in January, a visit that included participation in the annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony in Thessaloniki and lunch with the defense minister.
The Greek delegation accompanying Avramopolous to AJC yesterday included General Mikhail Kostarakos, chief of staff of the Greek armed forces.