New York.- (GreekNewsOnline)
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
Legal Scholar Dr. Symeon Symeonides and Peter Kakoyiannis, Esq. were the honorees at the “2019 Annual Testimonial Dinner” of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations was held on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Terrace on the Park. Dr Symeonides was bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his scholarly work, significant contributions and exceptional achievements in the field of law, while Peter Kakoyiannis was bestowed with the Community Service Award for his outstanding volunteer service and dedication to the community and for promoting the ideals and values of Hellenism.
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias, Deputy Foreign Minister for Greek Abroad Antonis Diamataris, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, State Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoma Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constandinidis, attended the dinner, along with almost 400 people. Among them the leaders of the AHEPA, AHI, HALC, CEH and other major Greek American Organizations.
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades addressing the event expressed the political will and determination of the Greek Cypriot side in creating the conditions for a creative dialogue with regard to a Cyprus settlement, through a new initiative.
President Anastasiades said that with regards to a Cyprus settlement the Greek Cypriot side aims at nothing less than what all free-thinking men seek. “We don’t advocate human rights only for Greek Cypriots, but also for Turkish Cypriots. We want peace, stability, welfare and justice to finally prevail” he added.
The state we want to create should be truly independent, without guarantors or occupation troops, the President went on.
He also referred to Turkish violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone, while Ankara threatens to open the fenced-off city of Famagusta for settlement, disregarding UN resolutions.
Addressing the Greek Foreign Minister, President Anastasiades said that there is an excellent cooperation with the government of Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and added that during their various contacts in New York, the Cyprus and Greek governments strived jointly and had a common goal.
Finally, the President assured those present that he will do his outmost in order to see Cyprus reunite.
In his address, Dendias said that the quick resumption and successful conclusion of settlement talks was one of his government’s top priorities. This was the message conveyed by Prime Minister Mitsotakis to all his interlocutors on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, he added.
“Our goal is a solution that will ensure the withdrawal of all Turkish occupation troops. A solution that will secure Cyprus’s release from the anachronistic and non-viable – as the UN Secretary-General himself said – system of guarantees and intervention rights of the 1960s,” he said.
In particular, he said that reaching a mutually acceptable, just, viable and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, on the basis in UN Security Council resolutions and in line with EU acquis, remains a priority.
Referring to Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Varosha, the Foreign Minister of Greece said that Athens is well aware of this “dangerous and illegal behavior of Turkey” as a similar situation unfolds in the Aegean. “We deem Turkey’s behavior totally and absolutely unacceptable” Dendias noted.
Archbishop Elpidophoros praises the Cyprus Federation for its work and conveyed the blessings of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whose biggest dream as he said, “is to be blessed by God to walk on Cyprus, the land of the Saints and the heroes”.
PSEKA President Philip Christopher thanked the leaders of the major Gree American organizations that attended the event and the members of the Federation, for keeping the struggle for a free Cyprus alive in the United States.
“We as American citizens fight for the best interests of the United States. And these are not with Turkey, but with Cyprus, Greece and Israel”.
T he President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations Kyriakos Papastylianou, in welcoming President Anastasiades, assured him that all Cypriots of American are trying united to help finding a viable solution for the Cyprus problem. He reminded the President that among the Cypriots of America there are not political parties.
He praised Presiednt Anastasiades for his efforts to solve the political problem, as well as for the economy and the health system.
“Be assured that as we did with your predecessors, you will have our continuous support”, Papastylianou said.
The organizing committee chairman and executive vice president of the Federation, Nicos Paphitis opened the event by paying tribute to Nicos Mouyiaris and Dimitrios Koloidis, asking the audience to observe a moment of silence in the their memory. Yiannis Christodoulides was the Master of Ceremonies.
Peter Kakoyiannis told the audience that the real honor belongs to them and his family, because when one goes to the path of volunteerism he does it on the tome of his family. At the same time, telling a story of volunteerism is a calling to others to follow the example, stressing the need to pass the baton to the younger generation.
In concluding, he called Greek Americans to stop sitting on the back of the bus apologizing, but to stand up for what we believe is right.
Dr Symeonides spoke about his family and the participation of his father in the liberation struggle of 1955-59. His 15 year old brother was kidnapped by the Turks in 1965 and he was recorded missing until recently. His remains were found in a mass grave. Symeon Symeonides served in the National Guard in 1967 and he was re-enlisted during the Turkish invasion, fighting in Mia Milia, next to hero Tasos Markou.
He spoke about his academic career and was thankful to the United States for the opportunity that offered to him.
“This loyalty does not clash with, or detract from, our loyalty to our first homeland. In fact, it lends more credibility to our efforts to influence US policy on Cyprus. As loyal and engaged US citizens, we can argue more persuasively that the interests of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean are aligned with the interests of Cyprus rather than with those of our adversaries in the region”, Dr Symeonides said.