ATHENS – Newly accredited US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis referred to the ideals of goodness (kalosini), love (agape), and above all, the love of honor (philotimo), as “some of Greece’s greatest gifts to the world,” instilled in him by his Greek parents, during his first address after presenting his credentials to the President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Tuesday.
At a reception at the ambassadorial residence, Tsunis acknowledged the work and achievements of former ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and the embassy and consulate staff, and said “there could be no better time to serve as the US ambassador to Greece.”
“The US-Greece relationship has never been stronger nor more consequential, as a sovereign European state faces a full-on invasion so close to us,” he underlined, adding that US President Joe Biden is “a great friend of Greece” and reaffirming that the United States “strongly supports Greece’s growing leadership role in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Balkans, Black Sea region, and beyond.”
Ambassador Tsunis said that though much had been accomplished, the two countries had room to further deepen cooperation: “It’s more critical than ever that the United States and Greece and our transatlantic allies work together. That includes advancing shared goals for strengthening democracy throughout the Balkans. We commend Greece’s leadership role to that end because it fosters regional prosperity and stability.Though we have accomplished much, there is room for us to further deepen our cooperation.” He added that he was fully committed to working with the government and people of Greece, as well as the Greek diaspora, “to advance our shared goals for peace and prosperity, together.”
Referring to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit to the United States, Tsunis said he would be accompanying him to the White House, where President Biden will welcome the premier on May 16, before addressing Congress on May 17, by invitation of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The invitations, he said, were extended to the Greek PM “because what happens in Greece matters – not just for Greece and the United States. It matters for the entire Eastern Mediterranean region, and much more.” He also added that working together “strengthens NATO. It makes the European Union more prosperous and secure,” and that strength and unity is more important now than ever.
The US-Greece relationship “has never been stronger nor more consequential,” the newly installed ambassador underlined, “as a sovereign European state faces a full-on invasion so close to us.” Speaking of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, Tsunis called it “an unprovoked war of choice that has claimed so many innocent lives and that has tragically brought to ruins Mariupol, a bastion of Hellenic identity.” He also quoted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging that “we must increase our resolve to resist those who now seek to manipulate historical memory to advance their own ambitions.”
Ambassador Tsunis underlined that NATO remains the cornerstone of US and European defense policy, while “the success of our transatlantic alliance, more important now than ever, lies on the collective aspiration of all NATO members to protect peace around the world and the values of freedom, democracy and self-governance that we all share and hold dear.”
The event was attended by several Greek ministers, representatives of political parties, and other political figures, as well as diplomats serving in Greece. The ambassador’s mother was also present, while his family will arrive in Greece at a later date.