US says it favors Greek efforts to strengthen ties with Russia

The activities of the Greek public and private sectors in Southeastern Europe have made the country a leading investment force in the region, while its economy continues to show resilience, the new US ambassador, Daniel Speckhardt, said yesterday. «The Greek state and Greek private enterprises, with investments of billions of euros, have made the country a leading investment force in the region, particularly in the energy, telecommunications and banking sectors,» he told the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s 18th «Greek Economy Conference» in Athens. Speckhardt praised «Greece’s successful efforts to put its public finances in order» and the «adoption of the necessary economic measures at the right time, when the global market is showing an unprecedented interest in developing economies and secure investments.» He said the US welcomes Greece’s diversification of energy sources and suppliers. «The (planned) Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the Turkey-Greece-Italy gas pipeline will precisely increase the existence of alternative sources for Greece and strengthen the energy security and economic prosperity of the European Union and the area around the Caspian Sea,» Speckhardt remarked. «It is especially important to find and develop alternative delivery systems for oil which is now transported by tankers from the Caspian and the Black seas through the Straits. We fully support Greece’s rising interest in the use of natural gas and its ambitions to develop into an energy hub in the region. We also fully understand Greece’s effort to create stronger political and economic relations with Russia. Besides, this is also our own goal,» he said. Speckhardt said he would act in support of US enterprises that wish to set up shop in Greece, but on fair terms. «I will ask for clear, reasonable and transparent procedures. What I will not do is ask the Greek authorities to give preference to an American enterprise as a favor to the the government of the US… Greece is a friend of the US and does not need to prove it anew,» he said.