Washington.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised to support the Holy Cross School of Theology of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with two million euros annually, from the state budget, starting from 2019.
Speaking at a luncheon organized by leading Greek American organizations, in honor of the Prime Minister, on Wednesday, January 8, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America thanked Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the momentous investment of Hellas in our Theological School – an annual grant of two million euros per year commencing last year. This commitment of Mother Greece to her children in the Diaspora is particularly significant, because it demonstrates the spiritual as well as ethnic and linguistic ties between us. It creates a fellowship in the Diaspora of ὁμογἀλακτοι, those who have been nurtured by the same Mother. And just as our Mother Church is the Most Holy See of Constantinople, led by our intrepid Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, our culture and civilization – as is true for the rest of the Western World – is Greece”, Elpidophoros said.
The luncheon was co-hosted , at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC by the AHEPA, AHI, International Coordinating Committee — Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), Leadership 100, Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), The Washington Oxi Day Foundation, and Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar represented the Trump Administration.
OXI Day Foundation resident Andrew Manatos presented the Prime Minister to an audience of 300 hundred prominent members of the Greek American Community.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Mitsotakis said that Greece has returned as a regional power in a region with tension.
“Six months ago I was sworn-in as Prime Minister with a goal to lead the country out of the crisis to the road of stability”, said Mitsotakis, stressing that the most important accomplishment of his government is to restore confidence and pride, not only within the borders of Greece but also abroad.
ON CAPITOL HILL
On the final day of his official visit to the U.S. and his second day at Washington DC, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with prominent members of the two congressional legislatures, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States.
According to Greek government sources, the meetings reflected both the emergence of the eastern Mediterranean as a region of major strategic interest to the United States as well as the significance the US attaches to Greece and Cyprus.
The prime minister first met with members of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which influences foreign policy and is staffed by senators who play a leading role in the two major American political parties, including Republican Robert Menendez, who pioneered the promotion and voting for the EastMed Act in December.
The meeting was attended by Commission President Republican James E. Risch, Robert Menendez and Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Marco Rubio, Chris Murphy, Chris Coons, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney (former Republican candidate for the US Presidency), Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz and Ed Markey.
Greek government sources favorably pointed out how meeting several members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is not a regular occurrence for a foreign leader.
Additionally, sources said it was particularly important that members of the Foreign Relations Committee showed great interest in investment opportunities in Greece and the prospect of its ‘return’ as a leading force in the Balkans and a stabilizing power in the eastern Mediterranean.
Premier Mitsotakis presented Greece’s stance on the illegal, provocative Turkish actions, which, he said, tend to destabilize the eastern Mediterranean region and beyond. He informed members of Congress of the Turkey-Libya MoU, which neglects the rights of Greek islands.
He stressed Greece’s cooperation with Israel and Cyprus in the construction of the EastMed pipeline, which, he said, is a project of peace and development in which everyone can participate, and he also highlighted Greece’s geostrategic role to regional stability and its significant contribution to NATO, here recalling the recent update of Greece’s Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US.
The Greek prime minister also informed the members of Congress of the ongoing process towards resolving the Cyprus issue, but also emphasized how the future of Balkan states is directly linked to their participation in the Euro-Atlantic structures and underlined all Greek initiatives in this direction.
The prime minister then met with the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and while addressing her he said that “we are two long-standing democracies, and as Greece celebrates the bicentennial of its War Of Independence in 2021, which is largely inspired by the founding fathers of the US, it will be another great opportunity to let us reaffirm our commitment to the common values that unite our two great peoples. Thank you again for your very warm welcome,” he concluded.