NEWS

US ambassador says Prespes accord will bring stability in Balkans

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An agreement signed and ratified by Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which aims to end a decades-old dispute over the latter's name, will contribute to the prosperity and security of the region, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said on Monday.

Speaking to Kathimerini at the Athens Energy Forum 2019, which was organized by the Greek newspaper and The New York Times, Pyatt said the deal is a turning point for Greece and that it will help the country make use of its economic potential in terms of its relations with the neighboring country.

Asked to comment on the largely negative view of the agreement among Greeks, he said he has been careful to avoid commenting on the issue.

Pyatt said he was “encouraged” by the remarks made earlier by main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said he may disagree with the deal but he intends to move forward and continued to emphasize Greek-US relations.

Greek Parliament approved the Prespes accord last Friday with 153 votes in favor, 146 against and one abstention. New Democracy voted it down.

Referring to the Greek-US cooperation in the energy sector, Pyatt cited the arrival at Revythousa of the first liquified natural gas shipment from US, adding two more shipments by the Mytilineos group will follow.

He said projects such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), the floating liquified natural gas station in Alexandroupolis and Revythoussa will prevent a Russian monopoly in the region and noted the strong interest of US companies for Greece's energy sector, referring especially to hydrocarbon exploration and renewable energy sources.

He reiterated US support for the dialogue between Greece, Israel and Cyprus and welcomed efforts to improve Greek-Turkish relations, ahead of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' visit to the neighbouring country.