FILE - The US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis speaks at "The 2nd Thessaloniki Metropolitan Summit" of the Economist on Friday 9 September 2022. (Photo by Eurokinissi)
ATHENS – George Tsunis, the U.S. ambassador to Greece, was invited to the ANT1 broadcast show ‘Enopios Enopio – Face to Face’ with Nikos Hatzinikolaou on Sunday evening. At the heart of the conversation were, among other things, his Greek roots, his family’s first, difficult years in America, his interest in politics and his relationship with President Biden, as well as Greek-Turkish relations.
Sharing some of the story of his family origins in Greece, he said, “my parents didn’t have money, but they had love.” Referring to the reason he speaks Greek so well, he said, “I learned Greek in America. My parents spoke Greek at home. My father went to America in 1953, my mother in 1961. When I went to school I didn’t speak English and I went to a Greek school and an English school at the same time,” he said. Speaking about his relationship with Greece, he said: “My parents were born here, my roots are here. I have family here. It’s my house. I am 54 years old and my roots are in Greece…I spent the best summers of my life in Platanos, Nafpaktia… My children come to Greece every summer.”
Returning to the challenges his parents overcame, Tsunis said, “I learned the poverty my parents grew up in. But my mother used to tell me,’ we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had love.’”
Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, he noted that, ‘the primary principle is that Greece and Turkey must discuss and resolve their differences diplomatically and in accordance with International Law. There is no other choice. Much is at stake. They are both very respected allies and very important members of NATO. But these matters are extremely serious and important. I understand the rhetoric [but] no one considers it constructive… We are constantly relaying to Greece and Turkey to do just that, because I know that both Greece and Turkey are seeking peace. There are differences in many relationships, but peace is the primary principle in this case, and it can only be achieved diplomatically.”
He explained of U.S. policy that, “we were extremely consistent. We believe that sharpening rhetoric is neither constructive nor productive. We strongly believe that both of our NATO allies should resolve their differences through diplomacy. This is the right way and will continue to be the right way. Here in Athens, my concern is to ensure the relationship between the United States and Greece, so that it is as strong and productive as possible.”
Regarding the current situation and the role of the American president, Tsunis noted that “President Biden has done an excellent job of uniting Europe… to resist what Russia is doing and at the same time contain the problem. This took a lot of skill. It took great diplomatic skill to pull this off. We are very careful not to allow it to develop into a possible world war. So far it has been limited. The President has received universal praise for these efforts.”
He added that, “I would like to point out that if Mr. Putin sought to weaken NATO, he succeeded in the opposite. If he wanted fewer NATO troops on his borders, he has more. If he wanted to weaken transatlantic relations, he succeeded in the opposite. If he thought he would invade Ukraine and occupy it in five days, he was wrong. Ukraine will prevail. There has never been an example in history where the true and the righteous were defeated by evil.
Ukrainians will return to a united Ukraine, ruled by Ukrainians. And this will go down in history as a huge mistake by Putin.”
ATHENS - The search-and-rescue operation to locate a missing F-4E Phantom II fighter jet pilot, Captain Efstathios Tsitlakidis, aged 31, was ended on Wednesday after an analysis of the collected evidence from the crash confirmed his death, a Hellenic Air Force announcement said.
Have an idea for a story, or know of an event we should cover? We want to hear about it!
The National Herald is the paper of record of the Greek Diaspora community. Through independent journalism, we bring news to generations of Greek-Americans, with stories on the individual, community and international level. Visit and support our 106 year-old sister publication Εθνικός Κήρυξ.
You’re reading 1 of 3 free articles this month. Get unlimited access to The National Herald. or Log In