Geoffrey Pyatt, allied and Greek defense officials visited the port for the final phase of the inter-allied military exercise Defender-Europe 2021.
Alexandroupolis’ port authority supported the exercise and the hosting of U.S. forces.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency, the American diplomat said that his visit “is proof of our strategic commitment to northern Greece and of Alexandroupolis’ role as a military logistics hub, an energy hub, a regional access hub and a transport hub.”
“This was a region which, when I arrived in Greece in 2016, seemed somewhat forgotten. This is no longer the case. I am very proud of the partnerships we have built, not just with respect to military cooperation and security, which is exceptionally important, but also, for example, in energy, with the FSRU, the natural gas power station, the IGB and TAP pipelines,” Pyatt said.
“I’ve visited Alexandroupoli six times now because this city plays a leading role in our countries’ shared goals of increasing European energy security and regional stability, as well as combating climate change.” My remarks here at #DefenderEurope DV day: https://t.co/c0wNQDyjPY
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) May 7, 2021
Alexandropoulis was a region that had become strategically important, he said, adding that “we are very proud” of the cooperation with the Greek government to promote “our common interests.”
Alexandroupolis has strategic location for U.S.
Pyatt had earlier been given a tour of the port with Greek National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the leadership of the Hellenic Army and other VIPs, and spoken about at the event about the strategic partnership between Greece and the U.S. in defense and security.
According to the ambassador, the many joint exercises conducted in recent weeks “highlight the accelerating tempo of our military-to-military relationship, which is anchored in our updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement. These engagements show the whole world that Greece and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder, together in support of regional peace and stability, just as we have done for the past two centuries.
“DEFENDER-Europe 21 in particular highlights Alexandroupoli’s strategic location and the critical asset that this port represents. This large-scale U.S. Army-led exercise, consisting of more than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations, is designed to build readiness and interoperability between the United States, NATO Allies, and partner militaries over a wide area of operations.”
He also expressed appreciation for “Greece’s willingness to stage, host, and participate in this important exercise, which demonstrates the ability of the U.S. Army in Europe and Africa to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and Black Sea regions, as well as our iron-clad commitment to our NATO Alliance.
“As this exercise shows, the United States will remain present in the Balkan and Black Sea regions in order to provide deterrence against potential adversaries in defense of our allies,” Pyatt said.
“The FSRU and the Alexandroupoli natural gas power plant are also important tools for reaching Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ ambitious climate change goals. They will enable Greece to be among the early countries to phase out lignite coal power.
“This is an important step and an example for the rest of the world, one which the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is interested to support,” he added.