David D.Pearce next U.S. ambassador to the Hellenic Republic.

26 Ιουλίου 2013

Yποψήφιος πρέσβης των ΗΠΑ στην Αθήνα,  στις 21 Ιουνίου 2013,διορίστηκε από τον Πρόεδρο Ομπάμα ως Πρέσβης ο Ντέιβιντ Πρίρς. Ο Ντέιβιντ Πίρς,τη δεσμεύτηκε ότι αν επικυρωθεί ο διορισμός του ως πρέσβης των ΗΠΑ στην Αθήνα θα συνεργαστεί στενά με την ελληνική κυβέρνηση υποστηρίζοντας τις μεταρρυθμιστικές της προσπάθειες, οι οποίες είναι καθοριστικές στην αποκατάσταση της ανταγωνιστικότητας της Ελλάδας και στην ανάπτυξη, την βελτίωση της εμπιστοσύνης της αγοράς και στη δημιουργία ενός περισσότερο ευημερούντος μέλλοντος για το λαό της, έδωσε ο Ντέιβιντ Πίρς (David Pearce), καταθέτοντας χθες ενώπιον της επιτροπής Εξωτερικών Σχέσεων της Γερουσίας

David D.Pearce : Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the distinguished members of the — of the committee.

It’s a great honor to be here today as the president’s nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Hellenic Republic.
Mr. Chairman, given the constraints on time, if you’ll allow me, present an abbreviated version of my statement and let the full one be entered for the record.

First, though, I very much appreciate the opportunity to introduce my wife, Leyla, who has ably represented the United States and served with me through more than three decades of foreign service postings in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. And with her are our daughter, Jenny, and our son, Joey, in the second row.

Mr. Chairman, I’m grateful for the confidence and trust President Obama and Secretary Kerry have placed in me, and for the opportunity to appear before you today.
Since the founding of our republic, the United States has looked to Greece, where the very idea of democracy was born, with special respect and affection. Relations between Greece and the United States are excellent, and we look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Samaras to the White House on August 8th.

As you know, the bonds between our countries have been strengthened over the years by millions of Americans who trace their ancestry to the Hellenic Republic. The Greek-American diaspora community is always generous with its time, and if confirmed, I will look forward to working with them and seeking out their views.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, Greece, as you all know, is experiencing a critical period in its modern history as it seeks to emerge from an acute economic crisis that has now lasted four years. We stand in solidarity with the Greek people, who are making major but essential sacrifices to achieve the changes that are necessary to return Greece to economic prosperity. There are still many challenges, but it’s very much in the U.S. interest that these reforms succeed, given the importance of Greece to the broader eurozone financial stability.

If confirmed, I will work closely with the Greek government to support its reform efforts, which are essential to restoring Greece’s competitiveness and growth, improving market confidence and creating a more prosperous future for its people. I will also look for ways to expand bilateral trade and investment and advocate for U.S. business and investors.
While much focus has justifiably been on Greece’s economic situation, we need to remember it also plays a very important regional role. In the first half of 2014, Greece assumes the presidency of the European Union.

It’s a long-standing NATO ally and has supported a variety of allied operations, including in Libya and Kosovo. Our strong security relationship is reflected in excellent cooperation at the Naval Support Activity base at Souda Bay, Crete. Together we’ve worked to combat transnational terrorist threats. We applaud, of course, the efforts of the Greek and Turkish governments to foster closer tries — ties and build trust. We support the U.N. effort to settle the long-running Macedonia name dispute, and of course there’s the continued division of Cyprus.

We believe a mutually acceptable settlement there is in the best interests of the people of Cyprus and the region. We look forward to settlement talks resuming later this year, and we will support them in any way we can. Mr. Chairman, these are some of the things I look forward to working on if I’m confirmed.

I first visited Greece as a classics student from Maine in the spring of 1971. Since then, I’ve maintained that interest, first as a journalist in Southern Europe and the Middle East and then as a diplomat in nearby Rome, Jerusalem, Damascus, Tunis and Algiers. I’ve been in the foreign service for 31 years now, and if confirmed, I would bring that accumulated experience to Embassy Athens.

So, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear again before you.

I pledge to do my best to advance U.S. interests and our relationship with Greece, a valued friend and ally, in every way possible, if confirmed. I also look forward to working with this committee as well as your staff and your congressional colleagues in that effort. And now I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.

SEN. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you to all of our nominees. We will now proceed with a round of seven-minute questions. I’ll just warn the panel we have a vote that’s imminent, and so that may interrupt our hearing. We’ll figure out how to proceed with it once the vote is called.

Let me start with you, Ambassador Pearce. You know, we have a saying around here that in, you know, crisis comes opportunity, and that’s kind of by necessity here because we’re constantly in crisis, so we can only hope that there’s opportunity in crisis. But you remark that you’re going to be coming to Greece at a moment of ongoing economic crisis but also at a time in which there is still hope that there is some resolution somewhere around the corner with respect to Cyprus and also the name dispute in Macedonia.

And so I’d ask I guess an open-ended question to hear a little bit more of your thoughts in terms of what role the United States can play but ask it through this prism: Does it become harder or easier to try to solve those two problems as Greece is looking more constantly inward during this economic tumult?

And what’s the appropriate role for the United States to play in this new round of talks with Turkey and in a — you know, just very meddlesome name change dispute that should be resolved in the short term, we hope, with respect to Macedonia?

MR. PEARCE: Thanks, Senator.
Let’s see. That’s a lot to chew on.

SEN. MURPHY: (Chuckles.)

MR. PEARCE: I think that the — clearly, the economic crisis in Greece is really tough. I mean, it’s been going on for about four years now. And the economy has contracted 25 percent. That’s a lot of pain for ordinary people. That’s very tough, politically, of course, for the — for any government to come to grips with that.

Nevertheless, I think that the Greeks have made significant progress. They’ve started to close their fiscal gap. They’ve recapitalized their banks. And then — but — and labor costs are coming down. But there’s a lot more to do, and I think that the main chore here is going to be to work with them to help them get through this very tough period.

Ithink that you’re right that there are opportunities. And I do think that — one opportunity that I can think of right off the bat is that if Greece is successful with its reform process, it will mean a better investment climate, it’ll mean more business opportunities, and I think that would be good for U.S. companies and firms in the future. So I think there’s a lot to do in terms of the domestic and the economic side.

In terms of Cyprus and the name issue, well, you know, I was on the desk 26 years ago, and regrettably, Cyprus is still an issue. I do think, though, from what I’ve seen, as I prepared for this appointment, that there is a couple of things which are encouraging. One of them is that the quality of relations between Greece and Turkey is better now, it seems to me, than it was back when I was working on the desk before. Another is that there’s an expectation that settlement talks in Cyprus are going to resume in October. That would be great.

You know, if this dispute can finally be moved off the — out of frozen status, and if the tragic division of the island can be — can end and we can have a comprehensive settlement — and, of course, we support a bizonal, bicommunal federation — that would be enormous. And I think — I think it’d be not just for Cyprus but for regional stability. And that would be a really great thing. And I — if confirmed, I would of course do everything that I can do from my perch in Athens to help in that regard.

The — a name — the name dispute wasn’t there 26 years ago when I was on the desk, although it’s been running for more than 20 years now, I guess. There — this is a very difficult issue, but we hope that the U.N. special envoy, Matt Nimetz, will be able to make some progress.

We support his efforts, and we do hope that a solution there can be found that would be mutually acceptable to both sides, because that too would be good for regional stability and integration of Euro- Atlantic institutions.

The U.S. role, I think, for — in the economic crisis, which you asked specifically about — the U.S. role, I believe, is to be there, to engage, to monitor, to report and to make sure that policymakers back here have the information they need in order to take the decisions that they need to./.greeknewsonline

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