Greek lobby angry with Washington warns that without Changes Annan plan will be defeated
NEW YORK.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
Greek American leaders disappointed with the US position during the three day talks in New York, take their case back in Washington D.C. International Coordinating Committee Justice For Cyprus (PSEKA) President Philip Christopher, World Hellenes Abroad Chairman Andrew Athens, AHEPA President Jack Georgalas, Cyprus Federation President Peter Papanicolaou and others will hold meetings this coming Wednesday at the State Department and the White House, with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman and Deputy Security Adviser Steven Hartley.
Philip Christopher told GreekNews that he is not happy that the American government is really putting enormous pressure on our side.
“I am inviting all the major organizations to go there so that we can show unity again like we did last time and again be forceful. I am going to say that “ I would start openly be against the plan at this point and to make sure that it is defeated in a referendum unless there are changes”. They have been asking us to help them but at this point there’s just no way that we can possibly accept this type of a resolution”.
He said Greek American leadership is approaching all of our friends in the Senate and in the Congress asking them to make calls and to bring to their attention that “if there’s going to be a solution, it has to be based on democratic principles”
One week before the resumption of the talks, Philip Christopher along with other Greek American leaders met in Washington with Secretary of State Collin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.
Similar feelings were expressed from other leaders as well. Dr Takey Crist from North Carolina, told GreekNews that he did not like the talks, because there was too much pressure from the United States to support Turkey.
“The Annan plan does not provide the basis for the agreement that we are fighting for. After all if we believe in democracy, human rights and freedom of movement, and what our sons and daughters fought for in 2 World Wars and for Gods sake for what we did for Kuwait then we should have the same principles for Cyprus”.
Peter Papanicolaou, President of Cyprus Federation of America is also discontent with the US stand.
“We were unable to succeed everything we wanted to see in the US Foreign policy on Cyprus. We are concerned because, first, we failed to make them accept things we were sensitive at and second, because the Cyprus problem is now entangled in a game involving Euro-Turkish and Euro-American Relations”, said Mr Papanicolaou.
Cyprus Federation President is satisfied with the two positive points the Greek Cyprus side accomplished in New York, but he also insists the Annan plan should undergo serious changes, in order to be accepted.
Philip Christopher thinks President Papadopoulos didn’t’ have any other choice in New York, but to move forward.
“However, he said, I didn’t like the fact that we have Kofi Annan now basically making decisions on the destiny of the Republic of Cyprus. I believe that the leadership of the Republic of Cyprus has to undertake monumental efforts to make changes that are necessary at the risk of walking out. I mean at this point I do not see how this plan can be a viable solution for the Republic of Cyprus”.
Andrew E. Manatos, President Coordinated Effort of Hellenes in Washington, D.C., said “The American government had a long history of managing the Cyprus problem with the number one goal of not offending Turkey. The prospects for peace in Cyprus dramatically changed when the U.S. government abandoned this position, led the fight that brought Cyprus early EU accession and focused on helping Turkey understand that it was in Turkey’s best interests to build a country that respects peace, democratic norms and human rights”.
Manatos told GreekNews that “At this crucial moment, it is up to Americans to make sure that none of our government officials slip back into the previous mentality. This might lead them to push for any Cyprus solution that would allow Turkey to get a date for EU accession talks. The Cyprus settlement must be just and viable. All sides will benefit from a solution that while respecting minority rights, also respects basic democratic norms.”
Andrew A. Athens, World SAE President says he is very encouraged with the recent events.
“We have high hopes that it will be done. It looks as though the Prime Minister of Turkey is sincere and more sincerity has come out of the meetings than we’ve ever seen before and I just pray that the political elements in Turkey are allowed to pursue a settlement and then we will have a settlement because it will not only be great for Turkey, it will be great for, of course, Cyprus and it will be great for Greece. It will be great for the whole of Europe and the whole world”.
Athens praises the Cypriot government for having done a great job and trying hard.
“I believe that the Turkish government is also trying hard. I hope that the results of all of this will be a victory for everybody”.
Greek American leaders believe that the coordinating efforts of the Hellenic American Community should intensify, until the time of the referenda.
“Everything you can do, just don’t go to sleep”, says Andrew Athens, suggesting Hellenes all over the World to mobilize. Last week he was in touch with all his regional vice presidents around the globe.
As far as the Greek American Community, the recipe is well known.
“We must contact our congressmen. We must continue bombarding everyone”.
Philip Christopher urges everyone to write letters to congressmen and senators asking them to intervene.
“I think the time is so short that what we have to do right now is to exercise pressure in the different areas of the government and that’s exactly what we are going to be doing between now and April 22”.
Dr Takey Christ says he is not satisfied with our lobby.
“We need to be more forceful. We need to shout–to our Congressman and Senators, we need media coverage saying over and over again what Turkey is all about—Unreliable, Big Deficient violations of Human Rights, invaded the country of Cyprus, raped, killed, displaced 236,000 Cypriots making them refugees in their own country. Destroyed the churches”