Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States’ ambassador to Athens, had some strong admonitions regarding Russian influence in the troubled Eastern Mediterranean in his remarks during the online Thessaloniki Summit on Thursday.
Apropos the recent Athens visit of Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, the ambassador was asked if Russia could play a mediating role between Greece and Turkey. Pyatt expressed scepticism about this possibility, commenting that Russia was trying to “sow division” within NATO and between the US and Europe.
He added that “it’s perfectly normal that Lavrov should come here and engage with Foreign Minister Dendias. Greece has a long-standing relationship with Russia.”
However, he stated, Greece “has itself firmly planted in the West,” and said that this country’s commitments for energy security and stability in the region matched those of the US. Russia’s delivery of the S-4000 missile system to Turkey is not helping the situation, he said, adding, “I see it as a huge threat to Greece and regional stability.”
Finally, responding to a question about the unfolding US elections, he said that regardless of what the American people decide, “we will be in a very good point regarding Greek-American relations because there is a strong consensus on both sides to strengthen what we are doing here.” This, he noted, is reflected in the EastMed Act as well as in the “fantastically warm reception” of PM Mitsotakis last January in Washington, by both Republicans and Democrats.
“I don’t think there are any two NATO allies who are more strongly aligned than Greece and the United States on the principle that, no matter what, we have to keep Turkey anchored in the West,” he noted, adding, “We have to find a way to reach out to the Turkish government and Turkish society to build opportunities for collaboration and to work together as NATO allies