ATHENS – US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, whose five-year diplomatic term in Greece comes to an end in May, said that a lot has changed in the country itself and in its relations with the United States during this time, speaking at a fireside chat during the 7th Delphi Economic Forum on Thursday.
What he said he observes as having changed most dramatically is confidence: “the confidence that the Greek people have in themselves, having escaped this terrible decade-long economic crisis. But also the confidence that Greece enjoys in the United States.” Elaborating, Pyatt mentioned the two countries’ expanded military relationship, as well as the confidence of investors. Five years ago, he noted, “we were discussing whether the Greek economy was going to collapse,” but today “we’re talking about enormous new investments by Pfizer, Microsoft, AWS, Digital Realty.”
Mapping common interests yet further, Pyatt said Greece now has thriving relationships with Egypt, with Israel, with the United Arab Emirates and with India, “so you have an arc of engagement where our interests coincide and where we are able to build confidence in each other.”
In terms of Greece’s role on the energy map, Pyatt said that the US “is extremely supportive of the work that Greece is doing with Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, with the [European] Commission on electricity interconnectors.” He said there is “an obvious economic play that rests in taking the relatively low cost of electricity generation especially in Egypt and especially renewable electricity generation, and delivering that to the European grid through Greece.”
Regarding the war in Ukraine, Pyatt underlined that when it is over “Greece’s role in the southeastern flank of NATO is going to be more important than it has ever been.” He also warned that the United States “will be intolerant” of any country that tries to evade the sanctions, “whether that’s in financial terms or technology terms.”
Pyatt added that “the sanctions that were applied because of Turkey’s acceptance of the S-400 [Russian missile systems] remain in place. Those were a decision of the US Congress, and they can’t be wished away.”
Finally, the outgoing American diplomat said that “it has been an enormous privilege to be the American ambassador here at a time of such clear progress in the US-Greece relationship, at a time when we have seen Greece reemerge as the leading voice of European democracy that the United States wants it to be.”