Washington, DC - Archbishop Demetrios of America met today with the U.S. Ambassador-Designate to Greece, Daniel Speckhard, in Washington, DC. Ambassador-Designate Speckhard will be sworn in tomorrow morning.
During their warm and cordial breakfast-meeting, the Archbishop and Ambassador-Designate discussed a number of issues relating to America and Greece. The Ambassador-Designate began the discussion by noting that he was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Archbishop, his first official meeting since being confirmed by the United States Senate. He emphasized that he would seek the guidance and assistance of the Archbishop on a regular basis. He also assured Archbishop Demetrios that he will work with the Archdiocese of America to gain input on the contemporary issues confronting the two countries.
In their dialogue, Ambassador-Designate Speckhard asked the Archbishop about specific issues: how to increase the good will between Greece and America; the Archbishops historical perspective on relations between the two countries, and the current status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Archbishop addressed each issue in a full and robust discussion. Finally, the Ambassador-Designate thanked the Archbishop for the decisive role of the Archdiocese after the devastating wildfires in Greece. He commended the leadership of the Archdiocese in establishing the Greek Fire Relief Fund and emphasized its continuing vital role in the process of recovery. He assured the Archbishop that the U.S. Embassy in Athens will maintain close contact with the Archdiocese. Archbishop Demetrios thanked Ambassador-Designate Speckhard for his willing spirit of cooperation. He also thanked the others present at the meeting: Mr. Andrew Manatos, President, Coordinated Effort of Hellenes; Fr. Alexander Karloutsos (Public Affairs); Fr. Mark Arey (Ecumenical Officer); Mr. Mike Manatos, Executive Director, Coordinated Effort of Hellenes; and Ms. Gabriel Cowan, State Department Senior Greece Desk Officer.
Ambassador-designate Speckhard has served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq, as United States Ambassador to Belarus, and has served as NATOs Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, covering political relations with many Orthodox Christian countries in Eastern Europe.