A Different Kind of Statement by the U.S. Ambassador to Greece 


FILE - ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis meets in Athens with US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, Friday, Jan. 25, 2018. (Photo by ND Press Office Dimitris Papamitsos via Eurokinissi)

The change of course indicated by the visit of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece to the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party last Thursday after Prime Minister Tsipras’ election crashes, was completed with a statement yesterday in Washington, D.C. This statement was equivalent to a vote of confidence in Mr. Mitsotakis' policy towards the U.S., its allies and the investment community.

In particular, the Ambassador said: “I have absolute confidence in the positive trajectory of the U.S.-Greece relationship and I have no doubt at all…that it will continue and accelerate in the event that the Greek people select Mr. Mitsotakis as the next Prime Minister… So that part I don’t worry about at all.”

In the past, I have objected to statements made by the Ambassador that I believed constituted interference in the internal affairs of Greece. (He, in his response to my commentaries, strongly denied these allegations.)

However, I do not regard the above statement as interference in Greek affairs - although I do acknowledge that it is an indirect recognition of Kyriakos' expected victory in the July 7 elections.

And I do not see it as interference because the Ambassador does not tell us anything new. It reveals no secrets.

The outcomes of the two prior electoral matches are known to all of us. And so all of us can draw the same conclusions as the Ambassador..."if the Greek people choose Mr. Mitsotakis as the next Prime Minister," as he put it.

However, the Ambassador’s statement is very important for the following reasons: he is not only giving assurance to the U.S. investment community that they have nothing to fear from a possible Mitsotakis government, rather, the opposite will happen: “the positive trajectory of the US-Greece relationship…will continue and accelerate in the event that the Greek people select Mr. Mitsotakis as the next Prime Minister.”

And this assurance is important because Mr. Mitsotakis puts particular emphasis on attracting new investments for the development of the economy.

The U.S. Ambassador therefore tells potential investors that the prospects for change and for a more welcoming investment environment will increase under Mitsotakis.

The same message, of course, is also being sent to America's allies in the military context.

Foreign investment and military co-operation being the two sides of the same coin.

It is for these reasons that the statement of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, without constituting interference in the country, sends a very strong signal in support of Kyriakos.