Jul 15 - U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton voiced strong support for Greece's battle to overcome its debt crisis during a visit to Athens. Simon Hanna reports.
Hilary Clinton voices strong U.S support for Greece as it battles to overcome its debt crisis. After a meeting with Greek Foreign Secretary Stavros Lambrinidis in Athens, the U.S. Secretary of State reiterated the close ties between their two nations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILARY CLINTON: "We know that we are your friend and we are your ally, and we are proud to be both. We standby by the people and the government of Greece as you put your country back on the path to economic stability and prosperity. It is for us essential because we have a lot riding on our relationship together." Athens says that the government has made visible progress in its economic situation - despite popular outrage over the deficit reduction plan that brought thousands onto the streets in protest. Clinton's visit comes as euro zone leaders prepare to discuss a second bailout package for Greece amid fears the debt crisis could spread. But the U.S. Secretary of State said despite these difficulties, Greece was taking the right steps. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILARY CLINTON: "I have faith in the resilience of the Greek people and I applaud the Greek government on its willingness to take these difficult steps. Greece has inspired the world before and I have every confidence that you are doing so again." Clinton is also expected to meet with Greece's President and Finance Minister, before meeting with the opposition and departing on Monday. Simon Hanna, Reuters.