Washington, DC.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Delegates of the 34th annual International Coordinating Committee – “Justice For Cyprus” (PSEKA) Conference, which kicked off in Washington on Tuesday, have looked into ways of exerting influence on US President Donald Trump with a view to avert conversion of the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus to an Islamic Fundamentalist entity. On the Tuesday, an article by Philip Christopher was publish in the Washington Times, sends the same message to President Donald Trump. The article was also published last week in “Greek News”.
The conference has been hosted by the International Coordinating Committee — Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO), the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and the Cyprus US Chamber of Commerce. It was attended by 100 representatives of overseas Cypriots` organisations from all over America, and is also attended by Mayors of the occupied municipalities of Karavas and Lefkoniko, Nikos Hadjistephanou and Zena Lyssandrou, as well as by Greek MP Haris Theocharis.
In his opening speech, PSEKA President Philip Christopher said that they would inform members of the Congress on developments in the Cyprus problem and referred to the need for a new strategy aiming to avert Turkey`s effort to establish an Islamic fundamentalist “state” in Cyprus` Turkish occupied part.
“Trump is not a politician, and we hope that he can get the message. The geopolitical situation in the region is changing and there are hopes that we will be able to make use of it,” he added.
World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) President Andreas Papaevripides briefed delegates on UK positions as regards the Cyprus problem. He described the views expressed by the Foreign Secretary Borris Johnson on the issue of guarantees as positive, and criticized UK Minister of State for Europe Sir Alan Dunkan because, as he noted, during a recent meeting he had with the leadership of the Cypriot organizations in the UK, he blamed Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades for the failure of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana. “After a long discussion he admitted that the Turks were not ready,” he added.
President of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes Andy Manatos referred to the illegal settling of the Cyprus` Turkish occupied areas, noting that according to information by Turkish Cypriots, the situation is worse than we thought.
According to estimations based on real data, there are 500,000 individuals from Turkey in the puppet regime. Erdogan`s effort to fully Islamize the occupied areas is an issue which must be brought to Trump`s attention, he added.
President of the American-Hellenic Institute, Nick Larigakis said that “we need to insist on exerting pressures towards the US government and the Congress.”. He also referred to the increasing escalation of the Turkish provocations against Cyprus and Greece.
The conference was also addressed by other officials who attended it, while Andreas Nicolaides, Chargé d`Affaires of the Cypriot Embassy in the US, hosted a reception for the delegates.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
The Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
The Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
A number of Republicans and Democrats serving on the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees
Members of the House and Senate Leadership.
At the Conference official dinner, Wednesday night, PSEKA HONORED
Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Cypriots Abroad Photis Photiou [Paraskevaides Award]
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Cohen [Frizis Award]
Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) [Athens/Livanos Award]
Legislation to Lift U.S.
Arms Embargo on Cyprus
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced a bill to end the Cyprus arms embargo. A similar bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by David Cicilline.
United States policy since 1987 has been to deny licenses on transfer of articles on the United States Munitions List to the Republic of Cyprus.
“Cyprus has proven itself a reliable ally and strategic partner to the United States, including in counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts,” said Senator Menendez. “With Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, it is in our national security and economic interest to lift this outdated decades-long arms embargo that is no longer helping U.S. security objectives in the Mediterranean. As we continue to see, this legislation sends an important message that the United States supports Cyprus’ right to fully realize its potential as a stable and dependable democracy and key contributor to the security architecture in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Mandated by a Menendez amendment in the FY16 NDAA, a joint report by the Department of Defense and State Department in June 2016 noted that, while the Cyprus arms embargo has had “little impact” on U.S. security objectives in the region, it has “in some part” contributed to Cyprus’ building of defense sector ties with Russia – a relationship that has become all the more concerning in light of the Kremlin’s increasing aggression around the world.
“As someone who has always worked with the Greek and Greek Cypriot community, I continue to remain hopeful that, one day, a durable resolution can be found that produces a real and lasting peace,” Menendez concluded.