New York (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou) — Greece is now entering “the final phase, before exiting the crisis,” government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said early on Tuesday at the Greek Consulate General in New York City, where he is as head of the Greek mission to the UN General Assembly meeting.
“What we need, most of all, is national unity,” Venizelos said, “and our first aim is to safeguard social cohesion, and support the weakest strata.”
At an event including presidents and officers of Greek-American agencies, Foreign Ministry officials and Greek representatives to the UN and the US, Venizelos underlined that Greece was “trying to keep intact our foreign policy and our policy of security and defence, throughout this period of crisis.”
“Nobody has pressured us under the threat of the economic crisis on issues of our concern, which is the well-known list of our great national issues. This is of great significance. We, on our side, have also not allowed and never will allow the linking of issues of economic policy and economis assistance with issues of foreign policy and political security,” he asserted.
The Foreign minister also called on Greeks abroad not to reproduce any of Greece’s domestic political disagreements: “I want to beg you and ask of you…to avoid reproducing any of Greece’s political disagreements. Preserve national unity as the apple of your eye, for unity is something we unfortunately do not understand within Greece as we ought to. Support the homeland strongly and with love, as you always have done, and be proud of your Greek identity.”
Venizelos said that Greek-Americans could contribute through their current homeland to the network Greece has abroad “in politics, academics, economy, research, the mass media and everywhere.”
Among other things, the Foreign minister referred to the Cyprus issue and the political insecurity of the greater area and said that “Greece is a secure reference point, and this is understood by all, enemies and friends both.” Greece was doing its best through the developments in the area to protect its national interests, he added.
Evangelos Venizelos paid a visit to Archbishop Demetrios on Wednesday, September 25, at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The two leaders discussed the latest developments relating to the economic crisis in Greece, and the many other issues of mutual interest for Orthodoxy and Hellenism around the world.
Following the hour-long meeting, Mr. Venizelos said in a statement to the Press that the meeting with His Eminence was “interesting and substantive.” He also publicly thanked the Archbishop for his ministry and the work he is doing for Orthodoxy and Hellenism during a very critical time and in a very significant place.
In his statement, the Archbishop said that most of the credit belongs to the Omogeneia, the Greek American Orthodox Community in America as a whole. He also stated that the meeting with Mr. Venizelos was very informative and matter-of-fact but also full of hopeful signs for an end of the “storm” and a brighter future for Greece. He said, the Omogeneia always stood and will continue to be by the side of our brothers and sisters in Greece, it feels the pain of our brethren in Greece and helps in any possible way.
Mr. Venizelos was accompanied by the Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitrios Kourkoulas, the Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos, the Permanent Representative of Greece to the U.N. Michael Spinellis and other ministry staff. Also present at the meeting on behalf of the Archdiocese were, the Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council Michael Jaharis, the Chancellor, His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane and Fr. Alexander Karloutsos.
WITH JEWISH LEADERS
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos met today, Wednesday, 25 September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee, the World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the World Jewish Congress, and the Antidefamation League.
During the meeting, Mr. Venizelos referred to the strong, historical ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between Greeks and Jews in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as between members of the Greek and Jewish Diasporas throughout the world. Moreover, he went into depth on Greece’s stance on all the major issues facing the international community, and especially issues concerning the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa.
Having outlined political and economic developments in Greece, praising the successes that have been achieved in the economic and other sectors thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek people, Mr. Venizelos underscored the importance to Greece of the unwavering enforcement of existing anti-racist legislation and of the categorical condemnation of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and the instigation of ethnic or religious violence as extreme criminal acts. He also stressed that the neo-Nazi elements assailing Democracy and the Rule of Law will be marginalized by Greek society, which, in its vast majority, deplores intolerance and violence.
Finally, Mr. Venizelos referred to the upcoming Greek-Israeli intergovernmental meeting – which is set to take place on 8 October, in Israel – as an opportunity to further promote and deepen bilateral contacts in all sectors and to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.