A delegation of AHEPA, headed by the organization’s Supreme President James Dimitriou, visiting Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, had high-level meetings in Nicosia and Athens. After a meeting with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Demetriou said that a new solution to the Cyprus problem will present itself with the removal of Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
The AHEPANS informed President Papadopoulos of the work a local AHEPA chapter has carried out in the past three years.
Demetriou said this is a “historic period” for Cyprus, “a time that we genuinely look to the full accession of Cyprus to the EU by next May. We hope that by next May there will be a solution to the issue of Cyprus, and there is no better time than the present for that,” he added.
Dimitriou said the new leadership on the island “is strong” and that it will bring a “final and just solution.”
However, he said it is “difficult when you have obstinacy by the Denktash regime that has not been flexible.”
Among the projects which AHEPA has undertaken is the construction in the capital Nicosia, of a monument to human and political rights dedicated to the late U.S. President John Kennedy.
Meeting with Kaklamanis
While meeting with the AHEPA delegation, Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said that the Greek people have friendly feelings toward the American people, as millions of Greek-Americans constitute part of the American society. The negative feelings, he said, are often caused by the policies followed by the U.S. governments, as in the cases of the military junta that began in Greece in 1967 and the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus, which continues with the use of U.S. weapons, in spite of a U.S. Congress ban. Kaklamanis also stated that the cancellation of two AHEPA conferences scheduled to take place in Greece was a mistake, stressing that Greece was the victim of terrorism and of those who exploit it in the U.S. to blackmail Greece and hurt its tourism.
Mr. Kaklamanis explained that Greece wants the U.S. to do something to solve the Cyprus problem by pressuring the Turkish government, just as it did in the case of the Middle East where it pressured Sharon.
The Greek Parliament president stated that the AHEPAns are a good bridge of friendship and cooperation between the Greek and the American people, between the two countries and their governments.
For his part, Dimitriou stated that he shares the Greek Parliament president’s views and briefed him on the organization’s reaction to the negative propaganda targeting Greece. He referred to the thousands of AHEPAns who will offer volunteer work at the
Athens 2004 Olympic Games and recognized the true value of an AHEPA Conference held in Greece, while he invited Kaklamanis to visit the United States.