With high level meetings in Greece, the leading Hellenic American and Jewish American Organizations concluded their Fourth International Leadership Mission to Israel, Cyprus and Greece, that lasted from January 11 – 17. The group was comprised by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive, B’nai B’rith International and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the central coordinating body representing 53 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern.
In Greece the delegation attended a series of meetings with high-ranking Greek government and military officials, including: Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Minister for Development and Investment Adnois Georgiadis, and Minister of Tourism Haris Theoharis. The delegation also met with several directorates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt hosted the delegation at the ambassador’s residence. He provided a briefing on developments in Greece and the region and held a Q&A.
The delegation also received a military briefing by then-Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, Gen. Christos Christodoulou. Moreover, Gen. Christodoulou hosted a welcome dinner for the delegation at the Officer’s Club. Moreover, the delegation visited the Hellenic Armed Forces’ Special Forces Training Center where they were hosted by Maj. Gen. Evangelos Papadopoulos, who is the director of the Special Forces. His team provided several briefings about the how the Special Forces trains and about the other training facilities located in Greece.
Finally, the delegation met with Leader of the Opposition, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
House Speakers receives AHEPA, AHI and Jewish Community delegates.
House Speaker Demetris Syllouris, on Tuesday received delegates of AHEPA, AHI , the Jewish organizations Β΄nai B’rith International (BBI) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (COP), who are currently visiting Cyprus.
In a brief statement at the beginning of the meeting at the Parliament, Syllouris said that many negative events were taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean and expressed his belief that they could have a productive dialogue, pointing to results ,‘’because we have no time to waste’’.
‘’We have many negative events happening, and we have also a lot of opportunities and we should take actions for positive results and we believe that this friendship we have built is an example of what we should do locally, between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. We haven’t reached the point of concrete results, the preparation has been done and we need to have a roadmap of execution for practical results,’’ he pointed out.
In Cyprus, the delegation attended a series of meetings with high-ranking Cypriot government and military officials, including: President Nicos Anastasiades, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris, and Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou.
The delegation also received a military briefing by Lieutenant General Elias Leondaris, who is chief of the National Guard. Presidential Commissioner Photiou and Lt. Gen. Leondaris also arranged for the delegation to visit the Cyprus – Israeli Monument, which commemorates 2,200 Jewish children born in Cyprus to Jewish Holocaust survivors detained in Cyprus between 1946 and 1949; and a visit to the Tomb of Makedonitissa, a war memorial and military cemetery at where each organization head laid a wreath. Moreover, Lt. Gen. Leondaris hosted a welcome dinner for the delegation at the Officer’s Club.
In addition, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus Judith Garber hosted the delegation at the ambassador’s residence for a Vasilopita cutting, briefing, and Q&A.
Finally, thank you to AHEPA Cyprus District 27 for hosting dinner Tuesday night.
In Israel, the leadership delegation attended a series of meetings at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Isaac Herzog, who chairs the Jewish Agency for Israel, and held a working dinner with key current and former diplomats: Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel Thessalia S. Shambos, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dr. Dore Gold, who currently is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; and Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, counsellor, Embassy of Greece. Further, the delegation received military and defense briefings from Col. Moshe Soffer, head of the Liaison Department for the IDF; and Zohar Palti, director of the Policy and Political-Military Bureau, Israel Ministry of Defense.
They also held a substantive meeting at the Office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Reuven Azar, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Head of Foreign Policy Department, National Security Council.
Also, the delegation toured Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center and the Bible Lands Museum.
The previous missions took place in 2014, 2016 and 2018, which were widely recognized and praised as contributing to inter-group and international cooperation and friendship.