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AHI Hosts Briefing with Top Greek, Cypriot Diplomats to U.S.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
March 28, 2016—No. 10 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Briefing with Top Greek, Cypriot Diplomats to U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a breakfast briefing with Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos, ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the U.S., and Consul Konstantinos Polykarpou, Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, March 5, 2016, at the Capital Hilton.  AHI President Nick Larigakis moderated.

In his opening remarks President Larigakis addressed the importance of two major crises challenging Greece and Cyprus and added that Turkey presents an additional challenge to an already delicate situation.

“As we are all aware, Greece is addressing two crises, economic and migratory, the latter of which has escalated of late,” Larigakis said. “As daunting as these challenges are, Greece’s foreign policy hurdles all remain thanks largely in part to its neighbors, Turkey and FYROM, both of which also are key contributors to the escalation of the refugee crisis.  For Cyprus…there is cautious optimism surrounding the talks, but we also understand that significant hurdles remain.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Panagopoulos commended AHI and President Larigakis for creating an important bridge and maintaining open channels between Greece and the United States. He explained Greece’s current economic state and the government’s overarching plan for Greece to return to growth, stating the end goal is to achieve a modern economy and a modern state that will be able to compete successfully.  In addition, Ambassador Panagopoulos addressed the destabilizing effect of the refugee crisis in Greece and the whole of Europe and the importance of an upcoming EU summit dedicated to addressing the challenges facing the EU. The ambassador emphasized the need for international cooperation and recognized the role of the U.S. in Syria.  Finally, he also touched upon the Cyprus issue, reiterating the obsolete nature of guarantees.

Consul Polykarpou addressed three issues currently dictating foreign policy in Cyprus. The first is the ongoing negotiations to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. He applauded President Anastasiades’ renewed efforts as well as maintaining a common vision with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci. Polykarpou emphasized the importance of U.S. support, especially in encouraging Turkey to contribute more to the process. He highlighted the Treaty of Guarantee and his government’s belief that it is obsolete for the future of a unified Cyprus. The second issue centers around energy, Polykarpou said. The necessity of cooperation with Greece, Israel and Egypt is of particular importance, he added. Finally, economic issues and the recent memory of the crisis still play a significant role in the Cypriot foreign policy agenda, Polykarpou concluded.

A Q&A session followed the panelists’ briefing.

01 From left: Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos of Greece, AHI President Nick Larigakis, Consul of Cyprus Konstantinos Polykarpou.

02Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos.

03Consul Konstantinos Polykarpou.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community. 

 

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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or atpr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.