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AHI Hosts Congressional Salute To Greek Independence Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: NICK LARIGAKIS
March 31, 2001 No. 18/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Congressional Salute To Greek Independence Day

To commemorate the 180th Anniversary of Greek Independence, the American Hellenic Institute hosted "A Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day" in the foyer of the Rayburn Building on March 28, 2001. The event was held in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), and the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), and was attended by approximately 300 people.

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis welcomed the guests and thanked Rep.Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for their support in organizing the reception. Demo Kolaras, Executive Director of AHEPA, Aki C. Bayz, Legal Counsel for the HANC, and Maria Stamoulas, Vice President of the HAWC, delivered greetings to the audience. Mr. Larigakis thanked each of them for the invaluable support of their respective organizations in organizing the reception. Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon and Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis also offered brief remarks and spoke of the importance of this holiday.

Numerous members of Congress attended the reception. Rep. Robert. Andrews(D-NJ), Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep.Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) addressed the audience. All the speakers reaffirmed their commitment to finding a just and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions and democratic principles. They stressed that the rule of law must prevail in the Cyprus problem and in the Aegean.

Notably, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) stated that "there should be a cessation of hostilities against the people of Greece by Turkey…and, most especially, there should be a full and fair settlement of the Cyprus question to the complete satisfaction of the legitimate government of Cyprus under President Clerides." Rep. Andrews also expressed his belief that "after years of coercion and propaganda…the people in the occupied territories of Cyprus have finally had enough. If there were a plebiscite on both sides of the green line, you might be very surprised by what the results would be…of the people in the occupied territories."