The United Kingdom will remain one of the most important US allies in NATO and Brexit will have no impact on the alliance, US Ambassador to Athens Geoffrey R. Pyatt told EURACTIV Greece’s media partner European Business Review in an interview.
Asked whether Brexit will ultimately be realised, he replied, “I don’t know. I will leave that to my colleagues in London and Brussels and elsewhere who have to work that through.”
“What I can tell you is that Britain will remain one of our most important NATO allies, one of our most important local military partners, and in no way do we see the decisions that the British people have made about their future in the European Union as detracting from the strength of our alliance relationship,” the top diplomat emphasised.
Pyatt, who was previously the US ambassador to Ukraine, expressed his optimism about the future EU-US relations, saying that the essential foundation is our “shared values”.
“The US, the strong US-European relationship, our transatlantic alliance through NATO, the most successful military alliance in the history of the world, is key to everything else that the United States seeks to achieve globally in terms of building a safe, prosperous and democratic world,” the diplomat said.
Since Donald Trump became US President in January 2017, transatlantic relations have been shaken.
Washington and Brussels have clashed on a number of issues, ranging from the United Nations’ future role, the Iran nuclear deal to the world order in general.
“There is an alternative to the foreign policy of isolation, fear, protectionism and confrontation, and this is the European way,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said last October referring to Trump but without directly naming him.
The EU official also added that the international order was going through challenging times and she urged Europeans to be courageous and express their own ideas in order to change things.
US and Greece
Referring to Greece, the American diplomat stressed that Washington believed that we can’t have a prosperous Europe without a prosperous Greece.
“That is to say, the US interest in a strong European Union, the US interest in a stable and prosperous eurozone cannot be achieved if Greece is somehow left behind,” Pyatt said.
Last October, Greek premier Alexis Tsipras met with Trump in Washington.
Just like his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump reiterated the American support in restructuring the Greek debt, a long-standing claim of the International Monetary Fund that Berlin firmly opposes.
Athens is expected to successfully conclude the third review of the bailout programme on 22 January and the government seeks a “clean exit” from the bailout in August 2018.
European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said last month that further debt restructuring measures would be discussed before the programme is completed, “as agreed in the Eurogroup”, on the basis of the body’s decisions on short, medium and long-term debt relief measures.
The American Ambassador also underscored the geopolitical importance of the NATO Crete Naval Base, which is located on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete.
In light of the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the US diplomat stressed it was more important today than perhaps ever before.
“The challenge is ISIS, stabilising the situation in Syria, and ensuring the complete military destruction of the ISIS Caliphate. But we are also critically focused on the challenges of North Africa, the situation in Libya. And then also the challenge of Russian malign influence which is so apparent in the Black Sea and in the Balkans. And the one place where all three of those problem sets, strategic problem sets, come together, is Greece.”