George Tsunis, appointed by President Joe Biden as the new US Ambassador to Athens, testifies before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) welcomed Tsunis’ appointment.
“Your nomination… came at such an important moment in US-Greek relations. Greece is an important US ally, strategic partner and pillar of security and democracy in the Eastern Mediterranean. As the birthplace of democracy, Greece continues to be a beacon of freedom in southeastern Europe,” Menendez said.
“In recent years, we have taken several important steps to strengthen our strategic partnership with Greece. Congress reaffirmed its strong bipartisan support for Greece by passing the landmark Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act in 2019, which I chaired with Senator Rubio and other members of this Committee.
“Last year we made progress in strengthening NATO’s southern flank with the passage of the US Greek Defense and Inter-Parliamentary Partnership Act, which I also chaired with Senator Rubio and other members of this committee. And Secretary Blinken and Foreign Secretary Dendias recently signed an updated and expanded defense cooperation agreement that strengthens our ability to support allies.
“Mr. Tsunis, if confirmed, you will inherit the strongest US-Greek relationship in history, well-equipped for future growth. You know Greece and the dynamics of the region well, and I am confident in your ability to lead Greek-US relations into a new era,” Menendez added.
In his opening remarks, Tsunis, among other things, said the following: “If this is confirmed, I will arrive in Athens at a decisive moment in US-Greek relations. Our relationship is at an all-time high. The annual Strategic Dialogue helped define key pillars of the US-Greek relationship, including defense and security cooperation, law enforcement and counterterrorism, trade and investment, disaster preparedness, energy and climate, and people-to-people connections. Greece continues to make progress on all fronts as it seeks to revive its economy, overcome the challenges of the pandemic and deal with tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. What happens in Greece matters not only for Greece, but also for the Eastern Mediterranean region, NATO, the European Union and the United States. The opportunity is vital for the United States and for Greece.”
Tsunis, 54, is not a career diplomat, but a businessman and donor to the Democratic Party. He is best remembered for his unsuccessful 2013 nomination for the post of Ambassador to Norway, which he withdrew a few months after a failed speech in the same Senate committee hearing in January 2014.
PS We announced the appointment of Tsunis back in October 2021, instead of the current ambassador, professional diplomat Geoffrey Payette, who is called the “father of the Ukrainian Maidan.” However, Pyatt is still the acting ambassador to Athens, and Tsunas is under intense interrogation in the Senate. What is it for?