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Culture

Rossides Greece, Cyprus Book Tour Filled with Memories and Honors

NEW YORK – Budding authors take note: The work of producing a book does not end with the writing. “You need to be part of the promotion of the book, too,” Eugene T. Rossides, the founder of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) told The National Herald.

Rossides said of his recent tour in Greece and Cyprus for his book Kissinger and Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness, “It was tiring but rewarding.”

Among the highlights was receiving an award from. Yiannakis Omirou. the president of Cyprus’ House of Representatives. “It was a very moving ceremony for me because it was presented by all the political parties,” in appreciation of his work on behalf of Cyprus through the decades.

He also met with President Nicos Anastasiades. “We spoke specifically and in detail about the Turkish incursion into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” he said.

Most of the questions that followed Rossides’ presentations were focused on the book and Kissinger’s responsibility for what happened in Cyprus, but some asked what the U.S. can do now to right its wrongs.

Rossides responded that the Greek-American community “just has to keep pushing and pressing the U.S. government – in its own interests – to do this. It is clearly in the interests of the U.S. to get rid of the illegal troops and settlers in Cyprus and to support Greece regarding Turkey’s aggressive actions and threats in the Aegean Sea.”

He emphasized, however, both in Cyprus and in Greece, that they must do “what other countries do, namely, hire proper public relations counsel in the U.S. Neither one does it.”

“We must continue to “attack Turkey’s actions and its unreliability as an ally,” he said, including suspending it from NATO until their illegal troops and settlers are out of Cyprus.

When Rossides met with John Koenig, the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, “we had a spirited exchange because we were pressing him to speak out about Turkey’s illegality in the EEZ…He was conciliatory, because we were aggressive regarding that, and said he was waiting for further instructions from the State Department.”

WEAK U.S. RESPONSE TO TURKISH INCURSION

Rossides called the Department’s official response “weak… They just said Cyprus has a right to explore in its EEZ…They should have been much tougher.”

He said that when Larigakis returned to the U.S. he send letters to President Obama and VP Biden.

The trip, which lasted from October 7-16, was prompted by an invitation from Public Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus to come to the island nation where his father, Dr. Telemachos Rossides, was born, for a book presentation at the press club in Nicosia.

Nick Larigakis, the President of AHI who accompanied Rossides, also arranged presentations at the University of Nicosia, the the Greek Foreign Ministry auditorium, sponsored by the think tank ELIAMEP , and the American College of Greece-Deree College.

There was a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, and George Economou, the president of AHI’s Athens chapter, and his wife Eleni, hosted a dinner for Rossides at the Athens Club.

Another book presentation and a dinner in Rossides’ honor took place at the Officer’s Club Thessaloniki arranged by General Ilias Leontaris, Commanding General for Macedonia and Ioannina.

One trip highlight was not connected with the book. Rossides drove his daughter Eleni and his son Michael to his their grandmother’s village of Selagoudi high in the Taygetos Mountains in Mani.

At its peak, 150 people lived there. Now there are 10. “We met two ladies dressed in black, but I could not get across who we were…until I told them I made a few trips here, once in a friends helicopter.”

They then exclaimed, “You are the one who brought electricity to the village!”

Rossides explained that when his uncle Peter wrote to him that the village had been bypassed when electricity came to its environs, he contacted the Greek Ambassador in Washington – it was during his 1969-73 tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury – “and very shortly thereafter our village got electricity.”

He is now working on two new books, one, a collection of his op-ed writing through the years is almost done, and another, a memoir of his tenure at the Department of the Treasury.

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