US president Obama stresses need for Greek debt relief

US President Barack Obama, during a meeting in Athens today with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, congratulated the Greek government and the Greek people for moving forward through a very challenging period.

“My hope is that given the growth we saw this year, we can build on that progress. The reforms have not been easy but have been necessary to boost the competitiveness of the economy… In my message to the rest of Europe I will continue to emphasize our view that austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity,” he said, stressing the need for debt relief.

“It is going to be important both with respect to debt relief and other accommodative strategies to help the Greek people during this period of adjustment,” Obama added.

On his part, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted: “It is a great honor that you visit Greece during your final Europe tour, giving a special message to the world.”

Referring to the economic crisis, Tsipras said that Greece “stands strong and will continue, despite the difficulties over the last 5 years.”

The US President said the US hopes to work with Greece, Turkey and other interested parties to support and encourage a just and durable solution for the Cyprus issue and expressed his deep appreciation for the compassion shown by Greek people to the refugees.

He also voiced the US’s commitment to cooperate and assist Greece in implementing the programs that have reduced refugee inflows and emphasized the need to “assist these people who are in enormous need even as we try to resolve the issues that have led to the crisis.”