Greece is ‘Pillar of Stability’, Says State Department Official

The United States counts Greece as a pillar of stability in the Southeastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, said A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs on Tuesday.

The U.S. official spoke at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, outlining the Trump Administration’s strategy in Europe. Mitchell analyzed the U.S. plans to build a stronger American presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, referring to Greece’s geopolitical role and the upgrading of Greek-American relations.

“We support Greece as a pole of stability in the eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans … With Greece, we have already started a closer relationship with the previous administration, on which we now rely to strengthen it,” the Assistant Secretary of State said.

Regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia nomenclature, Mitchell said that the U.S. is in line with the European Union and continues to provide assistance to overcome the difficulties and reach an agreement that will allow Skopje to join NATO.

“The U.S. continues to play a silent role, but together with the EU and Germany, we encourage a solution to this deadlock, to see FYROM become a member of NATO.”

On the issue of Turkey harassing drilling ships in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Mitchell said that the U.S. supports the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit its natural resources and “would not allow that to go unnoticed”.

The Assistant Secretary of State stressed that the U.S. is working to re-establish relations with Turkey that have become tense. The ultimate goal, he noted, is that Ankara maintains a Western geopolitical orientation, noting that having Turkey as a trusted ally is important for U.S. national security.

However, Mitchell said, the U.S. does not intend to ignore the limitation of democratic freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey, and also the rhetoric and Ankara’s actions that cause concern and friction with neighbors at a regional level.