Turkey-Libya Agreement Poses Threat To Stability America Has 'Sought To Encourage,' Says U.S. Ambassador To Greece

Deals between Turkey and the internationally recognized government in Libya on military cooperation and maritime boundaries could threaten the stability that America has "sought to encourage," Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic has said.

Speaking to reporters after delivering a speech at the annual Greek Economic Summit in Athens, Greece on Tuesday, Pyatt said that while the U.S. had not seen the text of the agreement, "we certainly see such a move as detracting from the situation of stability that the United States has sought to encourage."

Already, tensions between Greece and Turkey have been on the rise over Turkey's decision to move forward with drilling operations despite a longstanding dispute over claims to gas and oil reserves off of Cyprus.

In October, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt demanded that Turkey "end its provocative actions," branding the nation's oil explorations a "breach of international law."

Pyatt's comments on Tuesday come as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to ask fellow NATO members at the alliance's summit this week in London to support Greece amid Turkey's actions.

On Sunday, Mitsotakis told the ruling New Democracy party's congress that NATO members must take action when another member "blatantly violates international law," according to The Associated Press.

Indifference, the prime minister warned, could pose significant harm to Greece, a country still on the road to recovery from a crippling debt crisis.

In his comments to reporters, Pyatt maintained that both the US and Greece "share a strong interest in seeing that Turkey remains anchored in the West, anchored in NATO, anchored in our Euro-Atlantic community."

"Second, we have consistently made clear our appreciation for the steps that Prime Minister Mitsotakis and his government have taken, literally from their first days in office, to help ensure that the channels of communication between Athens and Ankara are open and to make clear that Greece is not seeking escalation, is not seeking provocation," he said, adding: "We hope that as quickly as possible, the focus can return to building areas of cooperation based on international law."

Geoffrey Pyatt
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt speaks to reporters at the Greek Economic Summit in Athens, Greece. Pyatt has suggested that agreements signed between Turkey and Libya could threaten the stability the U.S. has sought to 'encourage.' Chantal Da Silva

As Pyatt noted on Tuesday, Greece's economy, while still fragile, has shown significant signs of recovery in recent years.

"Greece is back," Pyatt said in a speech delivered at the Greek Economic Summit. The once-struggling nation "has emerged like a phoenix from the depths" of its financial crisis, he added.

"Greece remarkably now borrows at a cheaper rate than the United States," Pyatt continued. Meanwhile, he said, "Greece's growth rate is among the fastest in Europe."

That growth, he said, was good for both Greece and the U.S., with the ambassador committing to helping to change "perceptions of Greece in the U.S."

"We have to spread the word that this is a new Greece, that companies are thriving here," Pyatt said. "Greece is clearly moving forward."