New York.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
The Cyprus Federation of America, during its 37th National Convention on Saturday in New York was congratulated for its role in promoting Greek national issues in Washington.
The representatives of the 28 associations which are part of the federation, reelected unopposed Panicos Papanicolaou as its president, while George Sofocleous was elected vice president and Nicos Pafitis will head the federationʼs public relations.
In his speech, Papanicolaou referred to the work carried out in Washington to promote the Cyprus issue, noting that things are on a good track both at the House of Representatives and the Senate while the federation maintains good relations with the government.
He also praised the role of Alexis Yiannoulas and Eddie Zemenides, close associates of President Barack Obama, helping the federation have direct access to the new administration.
Addressing the convention Pancyprian Association of America and PSEKA President Philip Christopher said “we are facing new developments” and reassured those who expressed concern over President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clintonʼs recent visit to Ankara, noting that “we are in a better position and I would like to believe that Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton as well as President Obama will not forget their pre-election promises to the overseas Greeks”.
He reminded that there will be a meeting with the Vice President on the occasion of the PSEKA conference on 22 May.
Cyprusʼs Ambassador in Washington Andreas Kakouris underlined the pursuit of President of the Republic Demetris Christofias is to achieve a solution that will end the occupation and Turkish settlement, reunite Cyprus in the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as defined by UN Security Council resolutions.
Christopher referred to the progress of the direct talks, noting that Turkey, which is the occupying force, has the responsibility to work actively to secure the success of the procedure, encouraging Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to adopt logical and constructive positions.
Kakouris underlined that the government was anticipating more progress in the talks, but irrespective of the difficulties “we are dedicated to continue efforts for a solution, remaining dedicated to the foundation and principles for a solution”.
Archbishop of America Demetrios addressing the convention, described as a “paradox” the fact that a country which is a member of the united Europe in which Greece participates, to be in a state of division due to occupation. And superpowers like the US and Europe are completely powerless in imposing the fundamental human solutions”, the Archbishop added.
He also urged those criticizing the new US policy not to come to conclusions as it is too early and called for patience and openness.
Greeceʼs National Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis, addressing the convention, referred to Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlisʼ visit to Cyprus earlier this week where Greeceʼs full support was repeated once again.
He also said that “we should strengthen our presence and arguments at all international fora which promote peace, security and stability in the region.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis expressed the view that the results in last weekʼs illegal elections in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus as well as the significance which Washington attaches to upgrading its relations with Turkey recently “do not make us feel that the Cyprus issue is a top priority for the new administration”.
He said the Greek government is prepared to work very hard to bring the issue very high in the US administrationʼs agenda of priorities.
The Cyprus Federation was founded in 1951 in New York City and currently consists of 25 chapter members located throughout the United States including the Tri-State area, Virginia, Ohio, Chicago, Washington, Florida and California.