We will support Greece in the new phase after the end of the program

INTERVIEW – ANA/ Tuesday 3 July 2018, 07:51:50 / Last Updated: 07:54 / Source: ANA-MPA

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“We are committed to supporting the Greek government, Greece and the Greek people as they enter this new phase,” said US Ambassador to Greece, Jeffrey Pyatt, speaking to ANA-MPA about the day after the completion of the third program, in the sidelines yesterday’s reception at a hotel in Thessaloniki to commemorate the anniversary of American independence.

As Mr. Pyatt said, this new phase “should be focused on attracting foreign investment, because this will be key to growth that will help Greece overcome the damage it has suffered from a very difficult economic crisis”.

The US Ambassador also referred to the important role that the energy sector can play in the economic recovery of Greece, describing it as one of the sectors with “the greatest growth potential in terms of foreign investment”.

Mr. Pyatt also stressed the importance that the USA places on its presence at the Thessaloniki International Fair as Honored Country, saying it is a “big investment” and an opportunity to bring the American brand and the Greek-American relations back to the front stage in a positive way.

As for the Prespes agreement on the name of FYROM, the US diplomat underlined that the US saw the agreement as a very positive step of progress.

Below is the full text of Mr Pyatt’s interview with ANA-MPA’s Sofia Papadopoulou:

ANA: You recently said that the US wants to strengthen their strategic relationship with Greece. What is this strengthening of bilateral relations and how can it be achieved?

AMB. PYATT: It means working together to build on our converging interests, to take advantage of the opportunities created by the economic recovery of Greece, by the end of the third program, the progress on the name issue (FYROM), in order to strengthen a basic American strategy, which is the effort to cultivate Greece as a pillar of stability in the wider region, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. Thessaloniki is very important in this respect, as I pointed out in my comments this evening, we are making a big investment at the Thessaloniki International Fair and I am very pleased after my visits to Washington and New York that I have seen how positive interest is there for the opportunities the TIF is presenting in September and the importance (attributed) to the exploitation of these opportunities in terms of our strategic interests.

ANA: Can investments in the energy sector pave the way for the economic recovery of Greece?

AMB. PYATT: Of course. Especially in northern Greece, energy plays an important role. You have Kavala, you have the TAP pipeline, you have the Alexandroupolis FSRU (the floating liquefied natural gas tank), today I drew attention to the signing of the agreement between (Greek) Prime Minister Tsipras and (Bulgarian Prime Minister) Borisov to move ahead with the IGB pipeline, which is an important

infrastructure project. There are many different energy elements that merge together. I always emphasize, as I did a week and a half ago in New York, the importance of energy as one of the areas with the greatest potential for rapid growth in terms of foreign investment. It is a field exploiting the geography of Greece, but it is also the political decisions that the Greek government has taken to focus positively on the development of Greece’s role as a regional energy hub. We are excited about this area and determined to work closely with the government for its development.

ANA: How do the US see the next day in Greece after leaving the program and so many years of economic recession?

AMB. PYATT: First of all, this (the exit) is a combination of many years of hard work by the Greek people, the Greek governments and will need to continue work and commitment to reforms. I think that what gives the end of the third program is an opportunity to bring to light the progress made by Greece, the opportunities that exist and the reduction of risk. And that’s what investors are looking for, some sort of predictability. We are committed to supporting the Greek government, Greece and the Greek people as they enter this new phase, which should be focused on attracting foreign investment, because this will be the key to development that will help Greece overcome the damage caused by a very difficult economic crisis.

ANA: There are high expectations for the US participation as an honored country at this year’s Thessaloniki International Fair. How do preparations go and what will the United States bring to the Report?

AMB. PYATT: I will say two things: I am very excited about how successful our cooperation with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is. The companies will have a good presence, and I was talking with the Regional Governor (Central Macedonia) Mr Tzitzikostas for all the cultural, social and academic events that we are planning around TIF. It’s not just a business show. It will be an opportunity to bring America’s brand and Greek-American relations, and particularly American relations with Northern Greece, in a positive way.

ANA: The government is talking about a “historic opportunity” to resolve Macedonia’s nomenclature with the Prespes agreement. Do you share this view?

AMB. PYATT: It is an issue that the (Greek) government should support as should the government in Skopje. We saw the agreement signed in Prespa as a very positive step forward that will bring great benefits for both countries as soon as it is fully implemented.

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TRANSLATION, ANA: https://www.amna.gr/home/article/273056/