US Ambassador Pyatt: Greece at nexus of volatile region
Greece’s ability to build alliances from a particularly challenging strategic geographical position and its commitment to NATO were the focus of comments by United States Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt at the Hellenic National Defense College in Athens on Monday.
Addressing officers and students, and speaking of the strong US commitment to Europe, the American ambassador said that the most pressing challenges in the region were terrorism, ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, and unprecedented migration flows to Europe.
“Greece occupies a particularly challenging strategic geography,” Pyatt said, adding that the country “has also taken initiatives to create new alliances and to convene an ever-broadening group of regional partners with a mutual interest in security, stability and prosperity.”
Pyatt cited bilateral efforts with Israel and Cyprus and the trilateral one with Egypt and Cyprus, which the United States strongly supports, as examples.
Pointing out the country's strong commitment to NATO, the ambassador noted that Greece is “one of only a few countries that is both meeting and exceeding its national obligations to NATO, and doing so despite the severe economic challenges that this country has faced over the past several years.” He added that the US sees Greece as holding a “critical and unique” position in the world, especially in Europe's southern flank.
“Greece exists at the nexus of three separate strategic problem sets which come together over Greece,” Pyatt said. “On the one hand there is the ongoing Syrian conflict, the threat of Iran and asymmetric threats from the eastern Mediterranean. To the south the instability and emergence of refugees, and other problems emerging from a yet-to-be united Libya, and to the north, the malign influence of Russia exercised through its illegal annexation of Crimea and increased militarization of the Black Sea. Greece is a critical ally in dealing with all three of these problems,” he said. [ANA-MPA]