U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States strongly backs Greece's austerity measures as the country battles a crippling financial crisis that is threatening to spill over to bigger European economies.
Clinton made the comments on July 17 in Athens at the start of a two-day visit during which she is scheduled to meet President Carolos Papoulias, Prime Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis, and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
"We stand by the people and government of Greece as you put your country back on a path to economic stability and prosperity," she told a news conference with Foreign Minister Lambrinidis.
Greece's deficit- and debt-reduction programs have already sparked strikes and demonstrations, some of them violent.
Clinton's visit comes as leaders of the 17 eurozone countries prepare for an emergency meeting on July 21 in Brussels during which they will try to forge a deal on a second bailout for Greece.
She is on the second leg of an international diplomatic tour that will take her to India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and southern mainland China.
compiled from agency reports