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AHI Hosts Dr. George Vassiliou, Chief Negotiator For Cyprus Accession To The EU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
September 20, 2001 No. 46/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Dr. George Vassiliou, Chief Negotiator For Cyprus Accession To The EU

On Thursday, September 13, 2001, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a reception in honor of Dr. George Vassiliou, Chief Negotiator for Cyprus Accession to the European Union (EU), and former President of Cyprus (1988-1993). Dr. Vassiliou was in Washington, DC on a working visit to discuss progress on Cyprus' accession to the EU and on the Cyprus problem with key leaders in Congress, American policymakers and the general public.

AHI founder Gene Rossides opened the reception by welcoming Dr. Vassiliou and recognizing his extraordinary efforts and contributions throughout the years in striving towards a settlement of the Cyprus question. According to Mr. Rossides, during his term as President of Cyprus, George Vassiliou "elevated the Cyprus question internationally, and nearly pulled off a settlement, but for the last minute reversal by Turkey of its commitment to then President George H.W. Bush." Currently, Dr. Vassiliou exercises an equally important role as Chief Negotiator for Cyprus' accession process to the EU, and has made tremendous strides in that capacity.

In receiving a warm welcome from reception attendees, Dr. Vassiliou first extended his condolences and words of encouragement and support to the American people in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States:

"These are very difficult times for Americans. We all share with you your grief and shock for what has happened. These attacks of the terrorists were not just an attack against two buildings and against the Pentagon, against some people in the United States. It was an attack against the whole United States, I would say against the whole world, the whole of civilized humanity."

Dr. Vassiliou also updated the audience on the current status of the Cyprus EU accession process. He provided a brief summary of conversations held with representatives from the Bush administration and members of Congress during this trip to the U.S. Dr. Vassiliou said:

"The position that the Administration, the Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate are taking is the same. First of all, they will support the reunification of the island. They support without any doubt the idea of a federated Cyprus. They support our accession to the EU full-heartedly. They clearly want Cyprus to join and, as Mr. [Marc] Grossman (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs) has told us, they recognize that the accession of Cyprus to the EU will act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem."

The Hellenic House reception also offered Dr. Vassiliou an opportunity to meet and discuss these issues with members of the Greek American community. Distinguished guests included Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis,and the Minister DCM of the Greek Embassy in Washington Alexios Christopoulos.

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected], and visit our Web site athttp://www.ahiworld.org.