Washington, DC.- Following efforts to warm relations between Turkey and Israel, Cypriot leaders of the Greek-American community met in Washington, DC with Jewish community leaders on Capitol Hill and in influential community organizations – the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and AIPAC (the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee).
At this crucial time for Cyprus settlement efforts, these leaders also had a one-hour in-depth briefing at the State Department by the United States Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty. The Cypriot Ambassador to the United States, George Chacalli, also briefed the group in detail. Both discussions involved efforts from both the Cypriot and American perspectives.
On Capitol Hill they met with the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Ranking Member, Congressman Eliot Engel and member of the House Democratic Leadership, Congressman Steve Israel.
Among the subjects discussed at these meetings were the details of the relationship between the countries of Cyprus and Israel as well as between the Hellenic and Jewish organizations in the United States.
Those participating in these meetings from the Greek-American community included: Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States George Chacalli; Philip Christopher, President of PSEKA and President of the Pancyprian Association of America; Andy Manatos, President of Manatos & Manatos, Mike Manatos, Senior Vice President of Manatos & Manatos; Costas Tsentas, President of the Cyprus Federation of America; Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of HALC; and Andy Comodromos, Honorary Chairman of the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking to the “Greek News”, Endy Zemenides said he was impressed with Ambassador Doherty’s grasp with every aspect of the Cyprus negotiations, U.S.-Cyprus bilateral relations, and the potential for a reunified Cyprus.
“She is clearly committed to supporting a Cypriot-led process and knows that any solution that even seems imposed will fail. She is a good listener, and while she is not the first Ambassador to get an earful from the community, she acknowledged them in a very professional and reassuring manner.”
Zemenieds stressed that Ambassador Doherty agrees that the greatest emphasis has to be on constructing a sustainable solution in Cyprus, and during their discussion she started asking what needs to happen “the day after” reunification.
“I was also encouraged by her level of engagement of our allies in Congress”, he concluded.
Philip Christopher told the “Greek News that the Greek American leaders emphasized that the key is Turkey and regardless of the continued talks and the climate created by Anastasiaeds and Akinci, “when we come to the big issues of territory, security and guarantees, Turkey is the one come through.”
“We stressed that we don’t have confidence that Turkey will do it and we cannot wait until the last minute when Turkey will make demands and the Greek Cypriots are expected to concede in referendum with a solution that won’t probably be acceptable…”
Philip Christopher said the Vice President Biden will visit Turkey next week and Cyprus issue is part of his agenda.
“They understand Turkey’s role. She told us she understands the role of Turkey”.
Although they were told that Turks reassured U.S. officials that they will be cooperative, Philip Christopher doesn’t believe it will happen.
Finally he told “Greek News” that Ambassador Doherty is confident when the time comes money will come through.
“She met with various members of congress and she expects us to help”.