The US Embassy on Wednesday responded to an op/ed in Greek diaspora newspaper The National Herald (Ethnikos Kyrix) calling for the “transfer” of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt from his post in Athens on the grounds of his alleged interference in domestic affairs.
In a letter to the editor, the American embassy’s press attache Eshel William Murad said that the April 3 editorial by publisher Antonios H. Diamataris was in violation of “recognized journalistic standards and ethics, including a respect for considered facts.”
According to the same letter, any attempt to portray support of Greek government efforts to settle the name dispute between Athens and Skopje as the ambassador’s private initiative is misguided.
“It is… absurd for The National Herald, even in an opinion piece, to portray US support for the Greek government’s work in resolving this conflict as a matter of personality. It is not. It is a matter of US government policy,” the letter said.
The embassy said that US President Donald Trump commended Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Greece’s economic progress, while thanking him for the two countries’ partnership during the latter’s visit to Washington. It added that Vice President Mike Pence spoke to Tsipras on the phone to congratulate him on the Prespes accord, while Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan hailed Tsipras’s recent visit to Skopje. “This is diplomacy as practiced by US government leaders,” the letter said.
“Your editorial also contains very serious and baseless insinuations regarding a US government official’s motives for praising a foreign leader. At best, this is irresponsible, and it is also a clear misuse of the powerful platform your newspaper gives you,” it said.
Diamataris had accused Pyatt of “behaving like a cheerleader of Tsipras,” adding that this was tantamount to meddling in Greece’s internal affairs. He said that Pyatt’s behavior could only be interpreted as a “reward to Tsipras for his services [to the US].”
He suggested that Pyatt should be removed from his post “before causing further damage to the relations between the two peoples.”