ATHENS – While United States foreign policy always emphasizes “no permanent friends, only permanent interests,” US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said Greece has a friend in Washington and that the countries are aligned in their interests.
That includes against Turkish provocations, with Turkey repeatedly sending fighter jets and warships to violate Greek airspace and waters, and warning Greece it would be a cause for war if maritimes boundaries are doubled to 12 miles.
He spoke during the 3rd Conference on Southeast Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans which was organized by the Delphi Economic Forum and the Hellenic-American Leadership Council (HALC) in Washington, said Kathimerini.
He said that Greece is “on the right side of history,” in denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and backing NATO, the defense alliance to which both countries belong – but which has refused to intervene over Turkish aggression.
As he’s due to be replaced by the newly-confirme incoming Ambassador George Tsunis, from Long Island, New York, Pyatt used the chance to remind that the US had backed Greece during an 8-year economic and austerity crisis.
It was during his tenure, which began in mid-2016 – having formerly served in Ukraine – that Greece, under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – gave away the name of Macedonia to the newly-named North Macedonia, Washington having wanted a settlement to a two-decade long dispute.
That also led to North Macedonia being admitted into NATO, which Pyatt said vindicated the agreement that was oppposed by a majority
The US envoy added that significant steps had been made during his tenure, such as the signing of the Prespes accord between Athens and Skopje – a move which, he said, had also been vindicated by the crisis in Ukraine.
He became noted for repeatedly stating that Greece was “a pillar of stability in the region,” and the two countries resigned a military cooperation agreement in 2021 which will see more American bases in the country.
At the event, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ National Security Advisor Thanos Dokos said that strong Greece-US ties had helped safeguard the country’s status in an uncertain and unstable region, the paper said.
“By serving certain fundamental principles such as respect for international law and peaceful dispute settlement, Greece is now a pillar of stability in the region,” Dokos said, copying Pyatt.
He said Greece intended to contribute to efforts to improve Europe’s security independence and that the the 27-member European Union should move toward alternative and sustainable fuels to reduce dependence on Russian energy.