Greek, Israeli, Cypriot Common Front in Washington

Cyprus' President Nikos Anastasiades, center, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras talk during a press conference after their meeting at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Yiannis Kourtoglou/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON – The Council of Hellenic-American Leadership and the American-Jewish Council organised a two-day conference with a focus on promoting issues related to the two communities on May 7-8.

The conference is taking place to celebrate the 5th anniversary since the founding of the Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance (CHIA) in Congress. CHIA is a group of deputies formed in 2013 to further promote cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel through the activities of the US Congress.

At an event held at the residence of the Greek ambassador in Washington Haris Lalakos, the head of the Democrats in the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives Elliot Engel stated that in an extremely dangerous world it is important for the “good to remain united”.

“We see the world and say that things appear to be getting worse. We are not naive. We are aware that there is a big bad world. We know that we have problems everywhere but I believe that if the good remain united, then the right side will win,” noted Engel.

The HALC and AJC events this year are taking place at a crucial time as they coincide with a series of legislative intiatives currently going through the Congress that concern efforts to block the delivery of F-35 US fighter jets to Turkey, as well as the lifting of an embargo on the sale of US weapons to Cyprus.

Cyprus’ president Nikos Anastasiades, center, talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during their meeting at the presidential palace in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Yiannis Kourtoglou/Pool Photo via AP)

Referring to the burning issue of the F-35s, the executive director of HALC Eddie Zemenides said that even if these legislative initiatives are unsuccessful in preventing the delivery of the fighter jets, they are still a clear message to Ankara. As he said, these actions pave the way for the imposition of ‘conditionalities’ that, if decided, will place Turkey under scrutiny as their delivery will be linked to its compliance with specific criteria.

Three debates took place on Monday between political experts. The analysts presented almost all the regional developments, focusing on Turkey’s negative and destabilising role.

Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Zemenides said that the Greek-Israeli Alliance in the US Congress now raises Greek issues within a broader context, linking them directly with issues of national security that dominate political interest in the US.

“The cooperation and joint initiatives of the AJC and HALC are very important because they place Greek national issues within a broader framework. We do not consider them exclusively Greek issues. In this broader context their importance for US national security becomes more apparent. As we observed in our panels, the greatest challenges for the US in the region will probably not be solved if Greece, Cyprus and Israel do not play some role,” noted Zemenides.

By ANA/P.Kasfikis