U.S. Ambassador to Greece Pyatt Backs Cyprus Energy Hunt

November 16, 2018

With Turkey stepping up provocations in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, including putting warships off Cyprus in a bid to keep foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said America backs the island’s government’s right to develop its resources.

“The U.S. has been very clear, Washington has spoken repeatedly and consistently in terms of our support for the right of Cyprus to exploit its continental shelf and its resources,” Pyatt said during a conversation with Kathimerini English Edition Editor-in-Chief, Tom Ellis, during the Thessaloniki Summit in Greece’s northern port city.

Pyatt said also that, “The U.S. State Department’s emphasis on keeping the rhetorical temperature at manageable levels,” and trying to ramp down the tension that picked up when former Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias said Greece should extend its sovereign waters in the Ionian off the western coast from six to 12 miles, with Turkey fearing the same could happen off its coast.

Turkey opposes the energy hunt by the legitimate Cypriot government saying it infringes on the rights of Turkish-Cypriots who have been occupying the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion.

But using careful diplomatic language so as not to offend anyone about anything, he said the United States also supports Turkey as an ally. “There is a high degree of convergence between Washington and Athens on questions around Turkey,” Pyatt said without explaining what that means.

“We probably have no stronger ally in NATO in terms of sharing our perspective on both the importance of dialogue with Ankara but also the importance of ensuring that Turkey remains anchored in the West,” he said.

That ignored repeated Turkish violations of Greek airspace and Turkey sending warships past Greek islands with the US trying to keep favor with both Greece and Turkey while defending Cyprus’ rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize.


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