US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt.(Photo by Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)
US Ambassador Says Under New Democracy Greece “Pillar of Stability”
July 17, 2019
ATHENS – Repeating what he said when the now-deposed Radical Left SYRIZA was in power, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said Greece – now under the rule of New Democracy – is still a “pillar of stability” and that relations are getting better all the time.
He was referring to Greece’s role in what he called “a difficult region,” as US relations are deteriorating with Turkey – which has raised provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, sending energy drill ships off Cyprus.
The US had said that under former Premier Alexis Tsipras – who came into power as anti-American and anti-NATO – relations with Greece were the best they had ever been as he was mulling whether to expand an American military presence he vowed to ban.
Addressing the Economist’s 23rd Roundtable with Greece’s new government, which has a long history of being pro-American, he said that the country had come through a 9 ½-year-long economic crisis “while maintaining its democracy, rejecting extremism, and now paving the way for further economic growth,” said Kathimerini.
He said the two NATO allies share key strategic goals across a 270 degree arc of challenges from the Western Balkans to the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and Levant region.
“Greece has also transformed from being a source of problems to a source of solutions for the strategically important region of the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
Pyatt said the US administration is looking forward to working with the new government in Greece “to take our excellent bilateral relations to the next level,” repeating his mantra.
“We believe that US-Greece cooperation on all fronts – and especially on defense and security – will only enhance Greece’s ability to promote peace and stability in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said, stressing the US has urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to back off drilling – which he didn’t.
“No one can afford an accident or any other incident that might lead to conflict between NATO allies in the Aegean, and that is why the State Department has been so clear in calling on Turkey to refrain from actions that increase tensions,” he said.
That was in reference to worries there could be a clash as Erdogan sent Turkish warships into the region to protect two Turkish drill ships operating in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in defiance of the European Union and the US.