New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis will meet before the end of the month with the Defense Minister of the Republic of Cyprus Savvas Angelides, Congressman Dan Donovan told a group of Greek American supporters, last Friday. Donovan is a very close ally of President Donald Trump, representing New York’s 11th Congressional District (Staten Island and Bay Ridge Brooklyn) at the U.S. House of Representatives and he is running for reelection in November.
“General Mattis is going to meet with the Minister of Defense of Cyprus this month. We have an embargo on Cyprus and now I suspect the Trump Administration is going to review that”.
The meeting – most likely to take place during a stop of General Mattis in Cyprus – hasn’t been confirmed by the Cypriot Government. A Cyprus Government official told the Greek News that they don’t have such information, although a meeting is expected take place on Monday between Minister of Defense Angelides and the U.S. Ambassador in Nicosia Kathleen Doherty. If it occurs, it will be the first ever meeting between a U.S. Secretary of State and his Cypriot counterpart.
On August 20, Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, General Mark A. Milley met with Chief of the Republic of Cyprus National Guard Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris and U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Doherty in Larnaca, at the presence of and UK High Commissioner Stephen Lillie. General Leontaris has been invited later by the U.S. Army Chief later this month in the United States, to participate in a conference.
Cypriot government is asking for a meeting with the Chief of the U.S. Pentagon to reflect on the elevated status of their defense relationship. Diplomatic sources told the Greek news that when Foreign Minister Christodoulides will visit Washington to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (most likely end of October – beginning of November), there is a possibility to meet with Secretary Mattis as well.
“He wants to know why we do them. He is well aware of Cyprus’ generosity letting us use their airbase during our fight against terrorism, while the Turks are prohibiting us doing so. “
Congressman Donovan told the Greek News that the supporters of Greece and Cyprus are going to be very pleased with the results of the Trump administration.
“We review foreign policy throughout the World, but particularly in the Mediterranean, where we need such vital assets to fight terrorism. Cyprus has already shown us the willingness to help us by allowing us to use its airfields. “
“The president has signed that and now it’s the law of the United States. The President has asked for a report that is due in November to see if that position should change at all. Again, it’s refreshing that he is looking on policies the United States has had in the past but he is not accepting the fact that it was done this way. He wants to know why and if we have to change our policy and our allegiance to various countries throughout the Globe, he is willing to do so.
The event has taken place in Astoria and the members of the Community – among them Philip Christopher, President of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” – briefed the Congressman about the recent developments on the Cyprus problem, including the Turkish provocations and threats in the Cypriot EEZ.
Philip Christopher told Congressman Donovan that the United States needs a policy that will make clear to Turkey where our Government stands. The Greek Americans also explained him the recent difficulties raised by Ambassador Niki Halley during the discussion of the recent UNFICYP Security Council Resolution.
Dan Donavan, o former Staten Island District Attorney, was first elected in a May 2015 special election. The district includes all of Staten Island, as well as portions of southwest Brooklyn. He is the only Republican representing a significant portion of New York City in Congress. He has strong ties with the Greek American Community of his district and he is a member of the Hellenic Caucus. Speaking to the Greek News, he praised Greek American Community.
“We are very grateful for the people of Greek ancestries and people, whose ancestors came from Cyprus; who decided to raise their family educate their children and start their businesses in Staten Island and Brooklyn. We are a great community because of the influx of people from throughout the Globe who decided to build their lives here. Greek and Cypriot communities are two examples of that. This weekend I will be going to the Greek Festival in Staten Island and next weekend to the Greek Festival in Holy Cross Brooklyn. I want your readers to know it is not just because the food is so great but because people are great as well.”