On August 3 the new US Ambassador to our country Geoffrey R. Pyatt arrived in Ukraine. This diplomat with a 22-year-long work experience will succeed the veteran of American diplomacy John Tefft, who had been an ambassador to Lithuania, Georgia, and Hungary and knew the region very well.
According to mass media reports, Pyatt is actively studying the Ukrainian language, which is quite laudable. But apparently, he will have to learn the nuances of an East European country’s politics by ear, for until now his career has been focused in the countries of Asia and Latin America. Besides, before this appointment to Ukraine Pyatt had never worked as an ambassador. The highest position he has occupied was deputy chief of diplomatic mission, in particular, in 2006-07 in India. After that he has worked as deputy chief of US mission to International Atomic Energy Agency and other international organizations in Vienna. In May 2010 he was appointed deputy assistant secretary of the South and Central Asia Affairs Bureau.
Pyatt started his diplomatic career in Honduras: in 1990-92 he worked as vice-consul and economic officer in Tegucigalpa. During his work in Honduras the US signed with this country an agreement on trade and investment cooperation.
Pyatt is mentioned in the materials of WikiLeaks. In 2010 the website published the text of two classified cables the diplomat sent to the State Department. In one of them Pyatt, who at that time was working as deputy chief of US diplomatic mission in India, reported that an employee of Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs named Rajan was “leaking” to him the information about the ministry’s internal affairs. In particular, he allegedly gave Pyatt the list of Indian statesmen who were bribed by the Iran leadership and tried to persuade the Indian president to take a pro-Iran stand.
During his work at the State Department Pyatt lobbied for supplies of American weapons to India. In March 2013 he stated that he was personally proud of several agreements, in particular, the contract to supply cargo aircraft C-17 and C-130J, as well as P-8I Multimission Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
Pyatt was born in 1963 in the wealthy vicinity of La Jolla, an affluent neighborhood of San Diego, State California. In 1985 he obtained Bachelor’s Degree in the field of political studies at California University, and in 1987 –Master’s Degree in the field of International Relations at Yale University.
Following the Oath of Office on July 30 in the premises of the State Department in Washington, Pyatt said that he wishes “to see Ukraine succeed and realize its full potential as a democratic, market economy – which is in the interests of Ukraine and of the United States and European Union.” The new ambassador finished his speech in front of over 250 persons, including the head of the Consistory of UOC in the US Bishop Daniel and Subdeacon Father Vasyl Pasakas, with the words: “I look forward to this opportunity to serve as US Ambassador to Ukraine and believe this is a critical moment for Ukraine in its long struggle to be a strong independent country in charge of its own destiny.”
Commenting on the personal traits of the new US ambassador to Ukraine, Executive Vice President at Atlantic Council of the United States Damon WILSON told The Day that Washington has sent an experienced high-ranking diplomat on another critical moment for this nation.
Former US ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer as well considers Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt an extremely knowledgeable and experienced diplomat with excellent record at the State Department. “When he was sworn in on July 30, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns called Ambassador Pyatt the best professional in US diplomatic service. I expect him to cope very well with the work of representing the United States in Kyiv and continuing the great job done by Ambassador John Tefft,” Pifer emphasized.
Dr. Matthew ROJANSKY, head of the Kennan Institute – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told The Day that several short meetings with Pyatt in Washington left him with a very good impression. “It seems to me, he is a very intelligent and experienced professional who has deeply comprehended the important questions in Ukraine and American-Ukrainian relations. He showed amazing skill in quick mastering of these questions which indicates classic skill of a top-ranking diplomat. I am sure that if supported by the embassy team, Pyatt will achieve great success in his new role,” Rojansky emphasized.
Former US ambassador to Ukraine William Green Miller told The Day that he met with Pyatt several weeks ago in order to discuss the situation in Ukraine. “He is intelligent and experienced. He has proved his professionalism of a diplomat by fulfilling all his previous tasks. We had a very good and deep conversation about the history of independent Ukraine and its current political and economic realities. In my opinion, Pyatt will very soon be well-informed and continue the main policy of the US side by side with Ukraine as a strategic partner. I think Ambassador Pyatt will follow the policy of his predecessor John Tefft and will also fully support Ukraine’s entry to Euroatlantic structures, like the EU, as a nation that sticks to rule of law and democratic standards.”
“I wish to Ambassador Pyatt and his family happy years in the beautiful city of Kyiv, where I have spent five complicated years, which nevertheless was worth of it,” Miller said.