Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt: Media Roundtable with Diplomatic Editors

Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt

Media Roundtable

On the Record

April 3, 2020

Ambassador Pyatt: First of all, hello everybody. This is an experiment for us, so I appreciate your flexibility as we try this new format. I’m also glad to see and hear that everybody is healthy and well. This is obviously a challenging time for all of us. It’s a challenging time for Greece. In my case, of course, I’ve got a lot of my family in California, and I’m watching very carefully the situation back there. We’ve got 40 million Californians who are living under basically the same regime of very tight control that we all are experiencing here in Greece.

I wanted to take the opportunity to have a conversation with everybody, to give you my sense of where we are on the very important U.S.-Greece strategic agenda, but to also talk a little bit about how we are working together to meet the challenge of Coronavirus. And if I can leave one single most important idea with all of you, it’s just to underline the thought that the reports about the demise of American leadership that I read from time to time in the Greek media, I think are greatly exaggerated. We’re all facing a huge challenge as I’ve said on a couple of occasions now, and I said this to the President of the Hellenic Republic when I had the opportunity to talk with her a little while ago, we are in this together. The United States is committed to working with all of our international partners, in particular our transatlantic partners, and I’ll talk in a bit about our work in NATO.

Obviously, we have a big challenge back home in the United States right now. The best analogy that I can think of in terms of the challenge that we face and my confidence in American resilience is Pearl Harbor and the start of the 2nd World War. The United States had a huge setback in 1941. We lost most of our Pacific Fleet. And then the U.S. scientific and industrial machine engaged, working with our partners and allies to defeat the Axis powers and build the regime of democracy and shared values that we all enjoy today.

So I think, in the same way, I’m optimistic that the United States is going to come out of this. As a lot of you know, my hometown is San Diego, I grew up just a couple of kilometers from the Salk Institute, where the vaccine for polio was discovered. It’s one of the United States’ global centers for biotechnology and life sciences. [inaudible] I think everybody is quite optimistic that there will be a vaccine discovered. We’re seeing very rapid movement in terms of new testing protocols. Our bureaucracies are working together. So we’re going to get through this.

In the meantime, the United States remains strongly committed to our foreign policy agenda. That’s the message that Secretary of State Pompeo has sent out to all of us. We have to continue to work on the vital strategic interests that we have around the world. And in that regard, continuing to build on the investment we’ve made in the relationship between the United States and Greece is an important element of that.

I want to say how grateful we are for the superb cooperation we’ve had with the Greek government on these issues. I’ve been in regular touch with Minister Kikilias. I’ve talked in the past week with Minister Georgiadis about how Greek companies [inaudible]. I’ve stayed in regular touch with Minister Dendias including a phone call that we had on Monday. [inaudible] All with the perspective of bringing together our shared efforts.

As I commented in my note yesterday on Twitter, I think we are all deeply appreciative of how effective this government has been in getting in front of the problem, moving earlier than many in Europe on issues like social distancing. As I said, my home state of California was in a similar situation. San Francisco was one of the first major metro areas in the United States that had a mandatory stay at home regime. And you’re seeing the results of that in the numbers.

So obviously the Greek government is focused very strongly on this, and we are fully committed to observing all of the government’s protected measures. I’ve encouraged everybody else to join in. That’s why I’m talking to you from my upstairs office at the house. We’re going to stay engaged on this.

I also want to address a little bit of what we’re doing internationally, in particular the United States humanitarian work with international agencies to support the international response. We are and have been since its creation, the largest donor to the World Health Organization, and in 2019, we gave more than $400 million to it. The United States also has a very good record of contributions to UNICEF, to UNHCR, to the World Food Program. So I want to underline that we are committed to continuing that, even as we work on a very difficult situation in the United States. It’s worth remembering with the latest job figures, the job losses in [inaudible] —

I remain very proud of what American companies are doing in Greece including the terrific record of our technology companies like Google, Cisco, and Microsoft, all of which have been closely engaged with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the Greek Unemployment Authority, to help bring to bear the tools of American technology that can help the Greek state to work through these issues.

I was very pleased with the outcome yesterday from the NATO Ministerial, the first time in history that a meeting like this has been done in an online format, which tells you what an exceptional environment we’re living in. But there was a very clear message there — the tasking to General Wolters in his capacity as SACEUR to lead a collective response to this challenge, a commitment to implement rapid air mobility measures. So this will facilitate transfer of humanitarian goods, for instance, for the NATO Strategic Airlift Operations which have helped to bring protective materials from Korea to Romania. I think we’ll see more of that in the weeks and months ahead. And then the intention to have, later this month, a report to the NAC on the measures that have been taken to activate our transatlantic alliance to meet this challenge, and then follow-up discussion with Defense Ministers.

So you’ve got a lot of good work that’s being done in the transatlantic environment. Secretary of State Pompeo also has had direct contacts over the past week with President von der Leyen, with Secretary General Stoltenberg on Monday, looking ahead to the Ministerial that just happened.

So we’re going to stay engaged here in Greece. As I said, we’ve got a lot going on.

I’ll finish up with a couple of other quick ideas. One, just to say I’ve been really impressed by — what the Prime Minister alluded to in his CNN interview— how quickly the government has been able to move on the digital agenda. As all of you know, this is something that the Embassy has been working on for a couple of years now. We’ve prioritized it, working with the start-up community but also with the government. One of the first issues that I worked on with Minister Pierrakakis when he came in as Minister of Digital Governance was connecting him to Apple so that Apple could do the updates necessary to allow the government to deploy the emergency SMS alerts that we’ve all been getting over the past few weeks. I wish they’d done something to change the tone. The alert alarm scares me to death when it goes off. But the point is, you’ve got good cooperation there, and I think all the steps that have been taken towards digital governance will bring benefits to Greece for some time to come.

I also want to flag, and I’m sure somebody will want to talk about Turkey later on, but I also want to flag how important we believe the issue of refugees and migrants is. As I said, I’ve had a couple of conversations with Minister Koumoutsakos. He’s been strongly engaged also with the European Chiefs of Mission as he should be. But we’re looking at how we can continue to be helpful in that area as well, building on our strong record of support for UNHCR and also recognizing the exceptional burden that this is placing on Greece on top of all the other challenges that the country’s dealing with right now.

So we’re going to get through this. I’m very proud of the American record of standing by Greece and the people of Greece through the Marshall Plan and all the challenges [inaudible] —

We’re going to continue to uphold that strong record of support in the weeks and months ahead as we work through this, and we’re all looking forward to accomplishing that goal and then keeping the momentum going on the very important strategic agenda that we have here.

Let me stop there. I’m happy to take any questions. Bill, I guess you’ll sort of orchestrate. I like this software because automatically I get a little green signal from whoever’s speaking, so hopefully it will continue to work smoothly. And I owe everybody a cup of coffee next time we do this in person.

Journalist: Ambassador, thank you ever so much as always. A quick question on how you view China’s activities as far as sending medical supplies and medical gear all over Europe actually, and a lot in Greece, and if you see this position of soft power somehow threatening. We also see many reports on this too all around. Thanks.

Ambassador Pyatt: Thanks for asking me the question. The answer is no, I don’t worry about this at all. The United States is also sourcing huge volumes of, especially, protective equipment from China. I saw figures somewhere like 50 planeloads coming just this week to the United States. This is a global chain that has evolved, so we’re looking to China.

I will say, in the future there are going to be issues that have to be addressed in terms of how did this crisis happen? Where did the virus come from? What were the mistakes that were made in terms of transparency of information that allowed the contagion to grow from Wuhan into an international challenge so rapidly? What were the trip wires that should have been noticed? But that’s for the future.

The focus right now is how we work together to defeat this disease. That means bringing together all of our resources, including the sort of protective gear and other materials that are coming out of China. I think you’re probably going to see over the long term some greater diversification of global supply chains. I think everybody has been awoken to how dependent we have become on Chinese suppliers for some of these goods, a lot of which, by the way, are American branded, so masks from 3M which are coming from China.

But I don’t worry at all about the idea that there are planeloads of material coming whether it’s to the United States or to Greece or Italy or anyplace else. As you say, the Chinese government has been pretty active in terms of trying to publicize this. We haven’t been, which is one of the reasons I wanted to walk through all the significant support that the United States has provided and will continue to provide to these multilateral organizations where we are by far the largest donor in the world. But thanks for the question.

Journalist: Good morning, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you very much.

Do you think that the White House would have a different attitude towards the pandemic to prevent the situation in the U.S.?

Ambassador Pyatt: Again, I’m not going to try to second-guess the decisionmakers in Washington, DC from out here. There will be time for that in the future, and I’m sure in the United States, you will see efforts from Congress and from all of our institutions and also the states. You can see how important our Governors have been in dealing with some of these challenges. But I think the time for that, for the lessons learned, is going to be after the virus has been defeated, after a vaccine has been identified, and after we can all get back to something that looks more like normal life.

Journalist: I have a couple of questions. First of all, since you already mentioned NATO, I’d like to ask about the committee on the political future of the Alliance. There is a committee chaired by Jens Stoltenberg and co-chaired by Wess Mitchell and Thomas de Maizière. How do you see that discussion evolving?

Secondly, I wanted to refer to something that is of interest to my newspaper. We revealed a few days ago an operation of NATO in Sea Guardian somewhere south of Crete where there was a Turkish cargo ship that was carrying weapons to Libya. There was the French frigate that actually managed to stop this from breaking the embargo that has been imposed on Libya, and I’d like your comment on that. Did the U.S. know about this operation? Thank you.

Ambassador Pyatt: Thanks, so let me do those questions separately.

First of all, on the NATO reflection group. I think this is a very good development for Greece. I think all of us agree that strengthening the political dimensions of the Alliance, which is what this group is meant to address, is a development that’s overdue.

I think many of you, because you follow these issues, you know that Wess Mitchell was by far my most important collaborator as we built the architecture of the strategic relationship with Greece. The Strategic Dialogue, the 3+1 Process, leveraging the Prespes Agreement to enhance Greece’s role in the Western Balkans. All of those are things which reflected Wess’ strategic world view, his very strong focus on NATO’s southern flank. I’ve got his book here on my bookshelf because I’m at home, I have my library here. So here’s The Unquiet Frontier which I think a couple of you have read which is really a superb description of the challenges that Greece lives with every day. And Wess assured me when he finished up as Assistant Secretary that one of his projects would be to write a second edition that would pay greater attention to the role that Greece plays on that unquiet frontier. This is somebody who has been strongly focused on the Eastern Mediterranean, American strategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the importance of the alliance addressing that. [inaudible] —

Wess was also very clear when he was Assistant Secretary in terms of his concerns about the role of your big neighbor. He famously described Turkey as a minority of one in its views on the Cyprus EEZ. So he’s going to remain engaged, and I can tell you, Wess is a private citizen now, and he’s been very diligently involved since he left office. But he and I talked in December when I was at the Kathimerini-Delphi Conference in Washington, DC. Nothing has changed in his views, and he remains very proud of what he accomplished in the U.S.-Greece relationship.

I would also say if you want more on his perspective on these issues and his commitment to the relationship, I’d encourage you to reach out to Nikos Kotzias or to Evan Kalpadakis or George Katrougalos, all the people that he worked with to help lay the foundation for where we are today in U.S.-Greece relations.

So I think this is a terrifically positive development for the Alliance. It’s overdue. I’m glad the Secretary General has chosen to address it. And it’s a happy coincidence for all of us involved on U.S.-Greece relations that the person who will lead the process is somebody so strongly invested in where we are today.

On the question of Libya, I’ll say a couple of things. I’m going to be a little careful about this because there were some communications between the Greek government and the American government and our Mission in NATO and elsewhere which were classified, and I need to keep them that way.

What I will say, the biggest problem in Libya today is the external actors. Those external actors include Turkey, Russia, UAE, all of whom have made the political situation more difficult through their shipments of arms and their violations of the arms embargo. So we’ve been tracking this all very closely. The United States has spoken quite clearly on this. As you’ll remember, Secretary of State Pompeo was part of the last Berlin process meeting, and I’ve had I can’t remember how many conversations now with Foreign Minister Dendias on these issues. So Greece has stayed very close to the United States, has kept us fully informed on their perspectives, and we in turn have sought to ensure that the Greek government has a very clear window into American views on what needs to be done to bring the war to an end and to get a genuine peace process back on track, which clearly is not happening right now.

Journalist: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. The situation with the Coronavirus changed the situation in Evros. We saw that with the Coronavirus, Turkey stopped its invasion in Greece. So do you believe that there is a solution to the migrants and the refugee problem? And what is that solution to your point of view?

Ambassador Pyatt: A really good question. Of course to remind everybody, I was up in Alexandroupolis four weeks ago today, along with Matt Palmer, the State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. And both of us spoke very clearly in terms of our concerns about how the migrant issue had been manipulated by the Turkish state, how these migrants had been misled, and how that needed to stop. I would note that I was the only Ambassador not a member of the European Union who bothered to make that trip up there along with our senior Washington official. We did so so that we could meet with the local authorities, so that we could hear from the police, so we could meet with UNHCR and understand exactly what was happening with these refugee and migrant communities. I think it’s very clear to us, and we made that clear through our statements, that this was an unacceptable situation that needed to stop.

The good news is, and I think there are a couple of developments of good news. One, the Greek government was very successful in mobilizing its European partners. I think for me, one of the most powerful symbols, aside from President von der Leyen and other leaders going up to Alexandroupolis, was the reinforcement of Frontex and having other EU member states represented on the border, making clear that this isn’t a Greece-Turkey issue. This is an EU-Turkey issue, this is a European frontier, and we made clear our understanding and our recognition that Greece has every right to uphold its international borders. That is non-negotiable. So I think Greece was quite successful in that regard.

Then, of course, the effectiveness of the Greek security institutions. As I said, when I was up in Alexandroupolis and meeting with the police generals and the officials who were responsible for protecting that frontier, the last time I saw faces like that was when I was traveling in Eastern Ukraine. You realize these were people who were going into what they viewed as almost a battlefield situation and were taking it quite seriously, but were also committed to doing so in a way that would fully recognize both Greece’s international obligations under humanitarian law but also the fact that this is a rule of law state. It’s a democracy.

So I think Greece has come out of this with its European credentials reinforced. The problem of the migrant population inside Turkey has not gone away. And all of the challenges that Greece faces, the 22 cases in the Ritsona Camp, imagine that multiplied many-fold inside Turkey where you have much larger UNHCR and other refugee camps which are subject to exactly the same epidemiological threats. [inaudible]

We agree that upholding the EU-Turkey Agreement in all of its dimensions is part of the solution here, and that includes both the question of resources for Turkey, namely from other EU member states, but also making clear that this is a burden that Greece alone cannot bear. That all the members of the European Union need to share in this challenge.

But thank you for the question.

Journalist: Thank you. Do you think that an increasing NATO presence in the Aegean will be helpful regarding migration?

Ambassador Pyatt: The United States from the very beginning has been a strong supporter of SNMG2, that’s the NATO Maritime Mission in the Aegean. You’ll remember that for the first few months there was actually a U.S. Navy vessel that was part of that mission.

One of the challenges is that SNMG2 alone is not going to solve the problem because a big gray hulled warship is not what you really need to stop these migrants in rubber rafts. What you need is an effective Coast Guard. Every time I go to one of the hotspot islands, I meet with the local Coast Guard commander, and I’ve always been impressed by how professional these guys are, their deep humanitarianism, the fact that literally there are tens of thousands of lives that have been saved by the Hellenic Coast Guard, and people putting themselves in harm’s way to pull people out of the water.

I’m also very proud of the strong record of technical assistance and cooperation between the U.S. government and the Hellenic Coast Guard. We’ve done a lot of work with the MYA, which is arguably the most capable Special Forces unit in all of the Greek security establishment today. It has benefited from tens of millions of dollars of training and equipment provided by the United States government. We’re going to continue to build on that record of cooperation.

I’ve also had very good conversations including over the past week or two with Minister Chrisochoidis talking about our commitment to continue our work with the Ministry of Citizen Protection and the very strong record of law enforcement cooperation we have there.

One bit of news I should share today in a positive sense on that is the fact that we have just notified the Greek government of the extension for another year of Greece’s Provisional Status under the Visa Waiver Program. Most of you have been around long enough to remember in 2016 when this was in doubt, and we are very proud of the superb cooperation that we’ve established between the Ministry of Citizen Protection and counterparts in our Homeland Security, which is what has allowed us to inform the Greek government this week that Greece’s status in the Visa Waiver Program has been assured for another year.

So we’re going to continue to work on all of these issues. SNMG2 is a piece of it. The United States has supported SNMG2 from the beginning. We will continue to do so. But ultimately, this is much more a law enforcement challenge, just as in the United States. That’s why we, for instance, have been supporting General Atomics. Some of you will remember the exercise we did in December when we brought one of the civilian variants of the MQ9 UAV up to Larissa to demonstrate its capacity to operate in a border security maritime domain awareness capacity. We’re going to continue to do that kind of stuff, and we’re going to stand by Greece.

As I said, I think the positive aspect, if you can call it that, of the month-long crisis in Evros is that it served to remind the other members of the European Union that Greece is on the front lines, and that the issue was not solved by the EU-Turkey Agreement of 2016, and that it requires continued collective work — and work not just by Greece but by all the members of the European Union.

Journalist: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Even though there are no more questions left, I would like to speak on North Macedonia. We have a successful new NATO member. Sometimes we tend to forget when we succeed at something and leave the things are they are. Are you still focused on the area? And how do you think NATO and the Allies could help more the new NATO member to bypass, to overcome this crisis? The current crisis.

Ambassador Pyatt: Thank you. That’s a terrific question, and obviously it was a very emotional moment yesterday at the NATO Ministerial as every delegation welcomed North Macedonia as the 30th member of the Alliance.

I think one of the things that’s most encouraging to me, and as you all know, I lived through the debate over the Prespes Agreement. I understand how sensitive these issues are in the Greek political context. But I think Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Dendias, Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos deserve great credit for the leadership that they’ve shown in recognizing that now that North Macedonia has come into NATO, Greece has a strategic interest in seeing your northern neighbor become a successful and effective member of the Alliance. That was clear in the statements and the tweets that went back and forth between Foreign Minister Dimitrov and Foreign Minister Dendias two weeks ago after the Spanish ratification and the delivery of the Instrument of Accession.

We see a particularly important role for Greece in areas of training and capacity building, so helping North Macedonia and the armed forces in your northern couple of the techniques and tactics and procedures — sorry, I hang around my military guys too long now, I guess. But these techniques and tactics and procedures are really what make NATO work, and it was actually one of your senior military leaders who made this point to me, that much more important than signing the agreement is incorporating those aspects, those procedural aspects of NATO power.

So this is a very positive development. It helps to stabilize the wider neighborhood. And I think as soon as this crisis around Coronavirus is over, the number one issue on the U.S.-Greece agenda will be, how do we help Greece to get back on the economic growth path that it was on until the beginning of March.

I think some of you saw the release yesterday of the Greece Investor Guide, which is fantastically well done. I also tweeted out the link to YouTube. I’ve got three different videos that I did as part of that Investor Guide. We do not want to lose track of that. And when the Coronavirus crisis is behind us and we are back to something that feels more like normal life, our number one focus will be putting that economic and investment agenda back on overdrive.

In that context, I go back to the Thessaloniki Fair in 2018. The value proposition, the reason I was able to attract companies like Pfizer and others to invest in our Pavilion at TIF was because of their recognition that Thessaloniki wasn’t just the second city of Greece, but it was a gateway to a market of 30 million people.

I think as Greece thinks about its regional role going forward, leveraging your relationships in the Western Balkans, leveraging the critically important role that Northern Greece plays on regional energy developments, whether Alexandroupolis, FSRU, the IGB, the TAP pipeline. All of these projects that have redrawn the energy map of Europe which focus on Northern Greece and have a natural connection to Bulgaria, to Serbia, to North Macedonia, to all of your northern neighbors. It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention because of everything else that was going on, but the decisions by Serbia and by Bulgaria to commit to participation in the Alexandroupolis Floating Regasification Facility is a really dramatic symbol of how Greece has returned to the forefront in terms of the commercial and investment dynamics around the wider Balkan region.

That was something that wasn’t happening before the Prespes Agreement. It wasn’t happening during the years of economic crisis, but as we look to the future, this is a critical part of our wider strategy. I think I mentioned, the sort of three pillars that Wess Mitchell and I developed. One was the 3+1 in the Eastern Mediterranean. Another was the Strategic Dialogue. The third was the Greek role in the Western Balkans, in both its political and economic dimensions. So thanks for the question.

Journalist: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. You have mentioned many times, and you did just now, how important the FSRU in Alexandroupolis is for the United States. Given the successful market test on the 26th of March, is there any other comment you would like to say about that? Anything that we should expect from the United States? Thank you very much.

Ambassador Pyatt: I lost you after Alexandroupolis FSRU. So can you just ask the question one more time?

Journalist: Sure. Given the successful market test on the 26th of March, is there any further comment you could do about the FSRU and Alexandroupolis?

Ambassador Pyatt: Simply that we remain strongly committed to the success of this project. We welcomed the successful market test. Global energy markets are in a great deal of turmoil right now because of two factors coming together: one is the pricing war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. And for now, you still have that most LNG is benchmarked against oil prices. So as the oil prices collapsed, this has had an impact on gas prices as well.

It’s a huge source of controversy in the United States because it also affects the competitiveness of American LNG exports.

Then you have the demand-side impact, the fact that especially in China, LNG demand has declined dramatically and very quickly because of the economic crisis.

But these are all long-term projects. The TAP pipeline is something that we’ve been working on for 20 years. These are projects with an internal rate of return that is designed over decades, not months or quarters. So as the market smoothens out, and as these two crises are resolved — that is the oil price crisis and the larger Coronavirus crisis — the economic and market case for the FSRU is going to remain. And on top of that, and very important to me, is the political case. I think again, that’s why the government of Serbia, that’s why the government of Bulgaria have committed to this project, because they see it as a way to break the GAZPROM energy monopoly that they live under. So it’s a very important strategic project as well. That’s why the United States is interested in it.

Journalist: Thank you. Mr. Ambassador, in case the Coronavirus crisis endures until autumn, what about the U.S. elections? Is there a plan for that?

And about the Greek economy: Is there a need for a new Marshall Plan, let’s say, for a New Deal globally? How will it be, the international cooperation to build the global recovery?

Ambassador Pyatt: The first question: I don’t do domestic politics in the United States. And as you all know, I was here during the election of 2016, and it sure looks like I’m going to be here for the election of 2020. So my posture will be the same for both. I’m not going to touch anything that has to do with American domestic politics.

I think the good news is, whatever happens in our election, all of the converging interests and the progress that we have made on U.S.-Greece relations is going to continue.

Again, the world has never really seen an economic shock like that which we have experienced over the past month. Essentially, and there was a very good Wall Street Journal article this week that I thought captured it well — basically, the global economy has been put into an induced coma. It’s like a patient in the hospital where the doctors induce a coma to save the patient from another medical problem. We will have to bring the patient out of that coma.

That economic shock has been much harsher in the United States than it has been in Europe, because we have a different kind of social safety net. And as I said, the figure of more than six million jobless claims in the past week tells you how remarkable this period has been for the American economy. All of our leaders are going to be focused on how we get out of this. And certainly, the record of the United States – and this sort of brings me back to the point I made at the very beginning: the United States economy is the most dynamic in the world. It has a very strong record of getting through crises and then recovering, because we have an entrepreneurial culture and a capital generation machine in the United States that is unrivaled in terms of the ability to create economic opportunity and allow ideas to prosper.

I am 100 percent confident that that is going to remain the case. There is no analysis that I have seen which suggests that this induced coma in the American economy is changing any of the fundamental aspects of how our economy works or its dynamism. So our economy will come back very strongly.

I think there are issues that we’re all going to have to work through in terms of how the global economy fits together. I mentioned at the beginning these issues on global supply chains in China, the vulnerabilities that that has created. Obviously the European Union, and I don’t need to tell all of you as Greeks, the debate that the European Union has been going through for the past week or so over the Coronabonds, and the debate between Germany and the Netherlands, and then on the other side, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, this is all—you’ve all seen the same debate a decade ago at the beginning of the Greek crisis. Europe is going through right now the same debate that it went through at the peak of the Greek economic crisis over how your monetary union functions and how the different EU member states support each other.

I think the fact that you have a G7 economy, Italy, as the sort of leading example of this crisis right now, gives it a very different character from what happened when Greece was the focus of attention.

Now this is an economy which is under incredible duress because of the large dimensions of the Coronavirus crisis there, but an economy that is also one of the largest in the world and central to the viability of the Eurozone and the European economies.

This is going to be something that is going to have to be worked through. But as I said, this idea that I keep saying all the time, we are in this together. If nothing else, I think Coronavirus reminds us all, as Tom Friedman once said, the world really is flat on these kinds of issues. The idea of walling off one country from another just doesn’t work. And I’m hopeful that once we get through the medical challenge, which has to be the number one focus right now, that the international community and certainly American leadership will intend to figure out how we all work together to get the global economy back on track and to continue delivering the growth and opportunities that our citizens expect.

Ambassador Pyatt: Good, so thanks to everybody. As I said, I owe you all a coffee and cookies next time. In the meantime, please stay in touch. You all know how to reach Bill. We are going to get through this and get the focus back on all the issues that all of us have been talking about together for the past four years. So thanks for joining us today. Everybody looks good, even under the circumstances. So thanks for pulling this all together, Bill and Cindy.

Journalists: Thank you so much.

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