ATHENS – US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Friday met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Athens and discussed the Patriarch’s upcoming visit to Washington in the autumn, while highlighting his important role as a religious leader.
“It is always a great honour for me to see his All-Holiness. This was an especially important conversation between us because we were able to discuss the plans for welcoming his All-Holiness in Washington D.C. this autumn,” Pyatt said in statements after the meeting.
“This will be the first visit by the Ecumenical Patriarch to the United States in about a decade and it will come at particularly important moment in the life of the Church. Of course, there will be a new archbishop in North America and I was able to convey to his All-Holiness the great enthusiasm for the arrival of Elpidophoros as the new Archbishop of North America and our commitment at the governmental level to doing all that is appropriate to help him begin his mission successfully in the United States,” he added.
The ambassador said they were also able to talk about “the critically important role that the Ecumenical Patriarch plays as a religious leader on a variety of other issues, in the Middle East, of course in the Ukraine where the voice of his All-Holiness is so important, and across the wider Orthodox world.”
Grateful as always to meet His All Holiness @EcuPatriarch and to express strong U.S. support for his efforts on religious freedom, Ukrainian autocephaly, and the new U.S. Archbishop @Elpidophoros. pic.twitter.com/qvOY7ScGkb
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) May 24, 2019
Replying to questions on whether the US administration had plans “beyond rhetoric” in response to Turkey, Pyatt pointed to Thursday’s “very clear statement from the State Department” on the question of the S-400 and the consequences of an S-400 acquisition. In this context, he also praised the Greek government’s “prudent approach” in response to Turkey:
“I’m not going to get into hypothetical scenarios concerning the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean but I will say that I’m just back from two days of meeting with my colleagues from across Europe and our military leadership at European Command and there is great appreciation for the prudent approach that the Greek government continues to take. I would include in this regard our appreciation of the efforts that have been made this week with the reinitiation of talks between Athens and Ankara on military confidence-building measures.”