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US remains committed to Eastern Mediterranean, State Department official says

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The United States recognizes the Eastern Mediterranean as an important strategic region, and is committed to remain engaged in the region to ensure it remains peaceful and prosperous, a State Department official said in a letter on Monday.

The letter was addressed to American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis, who wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express concern that the international community will lose its focus “on Turkey’s tendency to cause instability in the region amid the coronavirus pandemic,” AHI said in a press release.

“The Department will continue to support our NATO Ally Greece in this difficult time, as the United States stood with Greece during its last decade of economic hardship. We deeply value Greece's contributions as a pillar of stability in the region,” said Maria Olson, director of the Office of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department.

Olson also said she appreciates efforts by Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis to maintain channels of communication with Turkey.

“The United States welcomes Prime Minister Mitsotakis' outreach to Turkey, and the United States will continue to encourage actions that lower tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and call on all countries in the region to refrain from provocative activities,” she said in the letter.