AHI Hosts Theodoros Pangalos For Lecture At Hellenic House
On March 20, 2002, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a lecture and reception at Hellenic House featuring Theodoros Pangalos, a prominent member of Greek Parliament under the PASOK party and former Foreign Minister of Greece. Mr. Pangalos was in Washington, DC as a representative of the Greek Parliament at meetings held by the Political Committee of the Western European Union (March 18-21).
The AHI event drew an attendence of over 50 and provided an opportunity for guests to hear a first-hand account of current issues and developments in Greece's foreign policy, and Mr. Pangalos' perspectives on U.S. foreign policy past and present. Mr. Pangalos gave a frank discussion of events and policies undertaken by the U.S. government since September 11.
Mr. Pangalos provided a comparative overview of U.S. relations with Greece and with Turkey. "While Greece is perceived as a reliable friend of the U.S., Turkey is perceived as a strategic ally despite political, economic and human rights deficits" said Panagalos.
Regarding Iraq, Mr. Pangalos warned that the U.S. should "exhaust all possibilities to deal with the new realities" in trying to create a new Iraq. By cultivating a closer relationship with Iraq's neighbor Iran, the U.S. might find a non-military solution to the issue of Saddam Hussein: "Iran with Iraq are the two countries that control the Persian Gulf. If Iraq sees that Iran comes closer to the West, Saddam will disappear. He will disappear through the action of his own people, through the action of the political forces that exist in the country."
With respect to Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos stated that the Republic would accede to the European Union (EU) by 2004. At the same time, he expressed hope that the U.S. continue to be supportive of the island's EU accession irrespective of a political solution to the current division on the island. He also urged attendees to continue to press the U.S. government for its support of this position.
Mr. Pangalos did not see military action by Turkey as imminent upon Cyprus' accession primarily because any such action would irreversibly isolate Turkey from Europe. However, he pointed out that "the reason that the Turks are not ready for a resolution in Cyprus is because they don't need it. The reason they don't need it is because they themselves cannot be a member of the European Union ... because they have to change fundamentally their political system, their society and their economy, and this takes time. So ... they want to keep the Cyprus issue open so as to use it in dealing with other matters."
Mr. Pangalos' lecture concluded with a question and answer session that expanded on many of the topics already discussed, and was followed by a reception.
For additional information regarding the AHI lecture featuring Theodoros Pangalos, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information on AHI, see our Web site athttp://www.ahiworld.org.