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Statement regarding the confirmation hearing of Nicholas Burns as U.S. ambassador to Greece

By John Sitilides1 <>, Executive Director, The Western Policy Center

For Immediate Release
Contact: Maro Verrios 916-383-7000
Tuesday, 23 September 1997

"We welcome Nicholas Burns' statement regarding the importance of Greece to the United States as a leader in the Balkans and a force for peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"Nick Burns recognizes the primacy of Greece, in conjunction with Turkey, in advancing American interests in this critical region. His emphasis on resolving disputes between Greece and Turkey, resolving the military occupation of Cyprus, expanding U.S.-Greek commercial ties and battling regional terrorism lays the groundwork for a successful diplomatic mission to Athens.

"However, the non-aggression agreement brokered by the State Department in Madrid, where Greece and Turkey pledged to improve bilateral relations, is under constant stress. Since Madrid, Turkey has further integrated the occupied zone in Cyprus into its own political system, threatened to enlarge and reinforce its 35,000-man force in Cyprus, and maintained its aggressive pattern of sovereignty challenges against Greece. The State Department must secure the commitments made to Secretary Albright only weeks ago.

"This pivotal region will benefit from Nick Burns' knowledge, experience and professionalism. The Western Policy Center looks forward to opening doors together with Ambassador Nicholas Burns in Athens, to strengthen American policy in the region and secure a lasting peace among Greece, Cyprus and Turkey in the years ahead."

1[The Western Policy Center is a public policy corporation monitoring U.S. geostrategic interests in southeastern Europe.]