WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a reception and presentation with Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, at the Hellenic House, November 8, 2017. The presentation served as an integral part of the vice admiral’s Washington, D.C. visit during which he also met with his counterparts at the Pentagon.
The invitation-only event was attended by thirty five persons. Several high-profile public officials and private sector representatives were in attendance, including: U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Ambassador Tom Miller, former U.S. ambassador to Greece; Ambassador Tom Korologos, former U.S. ambassador to Brussels; Deanna DeSante, deputy director, OSD European Policy, Department of Defense; Dennys Plessas, vice-president of Business Development Initiatives Europe, Middle East, & Africa, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; Dean Popps, former acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology; Captain Rose Rice, U.S. naval attaché in Athens; Commander Matthew Zublic, Office of Defense Cooperation, Athens; Colonel Panagiotis Kavidopoulos, defense attaché, Embassy of Greece; Alexios Mitsopoulos, first counselor, Political Section, Embassy of Greece; Andreas Nikolaides, deputy chief of Mission, Embassy of Cyprus; Captain Charalampos Pegklidis, Hellenic naval attaché; and Colonel Stefanos Ampouleris, Hellenic air attaché.
“We appreciated the opportunity to host Vice Admiral Tsounis for a very informative presentation about the importance of improving Greece’s maritime security in the eastern Mediterranean and strengthening bilateral relations with the United States,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “The event occurred at a highly pertinent time for the U.S.-Greece relationship, following the recent visits to Washington of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, who is the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff. We look forward to helping foster ongoing dialogue between the two longtime NATO allies in the effort to further enhance defense cooperation.”
Vice Admiral Tsounis made the case for elevating the U.S.-Greece partnership by stressing Greece’s commitment to regional security.
“Despite the geopolitical turmoil in the region and regardless of its recent fiscal condition, it [Greece] remains a democratic, stable and secure country,” he said, adding, “Greece could act as the primary interlocutor between East and West” because of Greece’s close cooperation with both Israel and the Arab world.
The vice admiral concluded his presentation, calling on the U.S. to invest its “political capital” in Greece. He reiterated the Hellenic Navy would continue to be fully operational, and a model of stability, despite continued budget constraints.
“The Hellenic Navy is determined to remain on the ‘frontline’ by continuously presenting its decisiveness to remain relevant, capable, credible, proactive and qualified.”
The American Hellenic Institute is an independent non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.
For additional information, please contact Constantine Politis at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.organd follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.