By Vassilis Nedos
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt is calling for yet stronger defense and security cooperation between the two countries that will build on recent progress. In an exclusive interview to Kathimerini, the American envoy hailed the “very strong” relationship under the previous government, which he credited for the strengthening of ties in the areas of defense and security.
“Now we have a clear commitment from Prime Minister [Kyriakos] Mitsotakis and his team to move even faster,” he said referring to the newly elected conservative chief, noting that “the tempo of our military engagement today is higher than it has been in decades.”
As an indication of these ties, he highlighted the “strong” partnership at Souda Bay in Crete, the “important operations of our MQ9s in Larissa” in central Greece, the pace of military exercises and new rotations through Alexandroupoli, Thessaloniki and Volos.
“We have a commitment on the part of both of our governments to making that exercise series, that rotation series, even bigger and more substantial for the next season. So we’re well positioned there,” Pyatt said.
On the issue of recent tensions with Ankara, Pyatt insisted that both Greece and the US want Turkey anchored to the West.
“Turkey is an inevitability for you as it is for us. And as I’ve said frequently, there are no two NATO allies who are more strongly aligned on the question of Turkey than Greece and the United States because both of us believe strongly that it’s essential for us to work as hard as we can to ensure that Turkey remains anchored in the West,” he said.
“The United States has spoken very clearly on the question of the S400 and the F-35. We’ve spoken very clearly on the provocative nature of the drilling activities that Turkey has engaged in in waters off of Cyprus. But none of that changes the fact that we, like you, need to find a way to make this work,” Pyatt added.