Reps. Maloney and Bilirakis Meet with Ambassador Pyatt on Greece
WASHINGTON, DC– Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, yesterday hosted a joint meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, who will be sworn in on September 28, to discuss the future of Greece and the relationship between Greece and the United States. Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Dina Titus (NV-01), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and John Sarbanes (MD-03) also attended the meeting.
“It is my honor and privilege to represent one of the largest Hellenic communities in the United States and outside of Greece and Cyprus, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Greece to discuss the issues of concern to the American Hellenic community,” said Rep. Maloney. “I was happy to hear Ambassador Pyatt’s strong commitment to maintaining the extremely important relationship our countries share, as well his plans to provide U.S. support to Greece as it recovers and rebuilds its economy. There are many ways the U.S. can assist Greece, including attracting foreign investment through agencies like the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). At the urging of Rep. Bilirakis and myself, OPIC released a statement of policy confirming that the agency will accept proposals for investment projects in Greece that will benefit both investors and the Greek people. The economic recovery of Greece is vital not only to its people but also to the region and our allies throughout Europe. As the Ambassador said in our meeting, ‘Europe can’t succeed if Greece doesn’t succeed.'”
“I was very encouraged by our meeting between newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoff Pyatt to Greece and Hellenic Caucus members,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “Having previously served as our ambassador to the Ukraine, Ambassador Pyatt is no stranger to challenges and will bring a wealth of experience to his new post. I am confident that he will continue to represent the United States abroad to his utmost, and I look forward to working with him to ensure our longtime strategic ally in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, is the beneficiary of economic, energy, and defense security that is fostered by the United States and other regional allies like Israel and Cyprus.”
The meeting comes on the heels of Reps. Maloney and Bilirakis recent letter urging Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to preserve and reinstate the Christian Liturgy tradition at the Panagia Soumela Monastery. Concerns over religious freedom for Christians are on the rise in many regions of the world and it is a serious issue for the religious minority in Turkey and especially for Greek Orthodox Christians who have roots in Asia Minor. The tireless efforts of the two representatives from opposite sides of the aisle on behalf of the Greek-American community show how much can be accomplished by working together. In welcoming the new ambassador, the community is hopeful even more can be accomplished for the good of the US and for Greece. Ambassador Pyatt was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 19, 2016, and was confirmed for the posting to Greece on July 14, 2016.