Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) President Philip Christopher received the “2019 AHEPA Socrates Award” during an AHEPA Charity Gala held at the Cyprus Presidential Palace, on May, in the presence of the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades.
President Anastasiades, AHEPA Supreme President Loucas and Chairman of the Board Nicholas A. Karacostas, presented the highest award of the largest Greek American organization to Philip Christopher “for his fulfillment of the American Dream, for his vision, passion and determination to see peace, love and justice prevail and reign over a united Cyprus, and for his unwavering support for Hellenism and organizations such as AHEPA.
The leadership of the AHEPA visited Cyprus in the course of its 2019 Family Leadership Excursion, from May 5 to 7. The excursion is continuing in Greece and Constantinople.
The series of meetings in Nicosia with Republic of Cyprus and United States government officials focused on recent, alarming developments in the eastern Mediterranean (see AHEPA statement), enhanced U.S.-Republic of Cyprus relations, especially in defense and security cooperation; prospects for the resumption of settlement talks, and the human rights issue of Missing Cypriots.
During the visit in Cyprus, the AHEPA Family delegation met with: President Nicos Anastasiades, U.S. Ambassador Judith Garber, and Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou, who also hosted the delegation for a luncheon. In addition, the delegation met with His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus. Further, the delegation enjoyed dinner with Lt. General Ilias Leontaris, chief of the Cypriot National Guard General Staff, who organized a wreath-laying ceremony at The Tomb of Makedonitissa, a military cemetery and war memorial.
THE AWARD CEREMONY
“We sincerely appreciated the generous amount of time afforded to our delegation by Cypriot and American government officials and thank them for their hospitality,” Loucas said. “Our visit to Cyprus was timely, and we gleaned a lot from our meetings about the current state of affairs on Cyprus and in the eastern Mediterranean.”
“Philip’s relentless passion to see justice for Cyprus is immeasurable,” Executive Director Basil N. Mossaidis said. “He inspires those individuals who also make it their worthy mission to seek justice and peace for Cyprus. As an advocate, Philip has set the benchmark to which all others aspire.”
He added, “We also are proud to call him a Brother Ahepan. Not just for his advocacy. Philip Christopher embodies and exemplifies why AHEPA was founded nearly 100 years ago. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 10. Through a hard work ethic, and spirit of entrepreneurship, Philip ascended over a 30-year career to become a leader in the wireless industry—as President/CEO and Founder of American Network Solutions and serving on several trade association boards.”
In remarks, Supreme President Loucas commended the Republic of Cyprus for its integral role in the trilateral partnership with Greece and Israel and for its demonstrated commitment to enhance defense and security cooperation with the United States.
“The Republic of Cyprus stands at the forefront of a promising dynamic in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Loucas said. “As it always has, AHEPA stands with Cyprus during these exciting, yet often threatening times.”
The Charity Gala raised funds for the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics and in memory of Photos Photiades.
International law is not based on what is written in the Koran, said President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday and called for pressure to be exerted on Turkey to remove its ships from Cyprus’ EEZ. It is time for the UN, the big countries and the EU to undertake their responsibilities”, the President added.
Speaking during the dinner of the AHEPA at the Presidential Palace, President Anastasiades said that Cyprus is not pro-war and is not trying to resolve the Cyprus problem through military means.
He said the country’s interests should precede everything and urged Turkish Cypriots to contribute to creating a sovereign and independent state.
During these critical times, he said, when Turkey, once again, is violating international law and the legal rights of the Republic of Cyprus, we expect the support of overseas Cypriots when we report the illegal actions and dismal repercussions that efforts to resume the dialogue contribute.
We should “put first and foremost the interest of the country”, adding that this can only be achieved through unity and the joint action of words and deeds.
Our highest priority, he added, is to find a fair and functional solution, adding we have allowed compromises that in other cases might have been unacceptable in order to achieve peace and the reunification of our country.
However, Turkey’s intransigence, its insistence to control an independent state, member of the EU and to maintain even after a solution Turkish forces, its insistence for equal treatment of Greek and Turkish nationals as if Greeks have special privileges and not as members of the EU and the insistence of Turkish Cypriots to have positive vote for every government decision, do not lead to a functional and viable state.
It is not enough to talk about what is fair, he said, adding that now is the time for the UN and great states and the EU to undertake responsibilities and said “measures need to be taken or pressure exerted on Turkey so it finally realises that international law is not what’s written in Mr. Erdogan’s Koran but what is part of the UN charter”.
The President further said the aim remains to create a state that will fully respect the human rights of all the people of Cyprus.
Referring to Philip Christopher, he said that he has helped and contributed to the greatest extent possible, the Greek Cypriot community of America and the work that it carries out, is working with passion to protect and spread the Greek Christian ideals, to enlighten and promote the Cyprus problem.
MEETING PHOTIS PHOTIOU
Presidential Commissioner Fotis Fotiou met on Tuesday with AHEPA Supreme President George Loucas and his delegation and briefed them on Turkish provocations in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus and efforts to locate missing persons.
According to an announcement by the Presidency of Cyprus, during his meeting with Loucas and his delegation, Fotiou referred to the recent illegal activities of Turkey in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and the protests to EU intuitions and member states, which he said are ongoing.
The Presidential Commissioner also referred to the humanitarian issue of missing persons and briefed AHEPA about the problems and difficulties they encounter, due to the negative stance of Turkey.
He also referred to the dramatic decrease in locating remains of missing persons in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, due to the lack of Turkey’s cooperation and underlined the importance of exerting pressure on Ankara to solve this humanitarian problem.
Fotiou also briefed the delegation of AHEPA on diaspora matters and highlighted the importance of implementing actions in the United States, where the diaspora is numerous and well-organized.
He also thanked AHEPA Cyprus for donating a copy machine to the Rizokarpaso Primary School for Greek-Cypriot enclaved pupils.
Lucas assured on his part of the organization’s interest about diaspora-related activities and expressed his will to help in any way, in order to solve the problem of missing persons and end Turkish provocations in the EEZ.