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AHI Leadership Meets with the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
May 2, 2006—No. 39 (202) 785-8430

AHI Leadership Meets with the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns

Washington, DC—On April 24, 2006, the AHI Leadership including: AHI Chairman James Marketos, AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, AHI President Gene Rossides and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis met with the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns at the State Department to discuss issues of concern regarding U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus.

In the forty-five minute meeting, the discussion centered on the current state of U.S.-Greek relations, which Mr. Burns characterized as “Good as it has ever been.” In addition, he stated that “Greece’s role in the Balkans is important” as the discussion shifted to the Kosovo issue.

On Cyprus, Mr. Burns said that the United States recognizes only one government on Cyprus and that there is “no policy of creeping recognition” as it relates to the Turkish Cypriots. To reinforce this point the delegation urged Mr. Burns that the U.S. should take positive steps to demonstrate there is no creeping recognition de facto.

Mr. Burns expressed his hope that talks could begin again after the Cypriot elections in May and that the U.S. will be “very active in the process. We’re going to be the honest broker.” he said.

The AHI group stated that the U.S. should call on Turkey to remove immediately all Turkish troops and illegal colonists and to tear down the “barbed wire” Green line fence now.

Other items discussed during the meeting included the Aegean, FYROM and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the group brought to Mr. Burns attention an action perpetrated by the extreme radical group, the Grey Wolves, who “on January 30, 2006, the feast day of the Three Hierarchs, gathered in Smyrna [Izmir] to symbolically decapitate, decimate and burn in effigy His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. They placed this distorted image in a small boat and cast it out in Smyrna’s [Izmir’s] harbor, recalling the horrors visited upon Asia Minor Hellenes during the catastrophe of 1922.” (April 18, 2006 letter of Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)

Mr. Burns expressed his astonishment to hearing this. The group offered a number of suggestions regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate that Mr. Burns said he found “interesting.”

“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Under Secretary Burns, whom we have known and worked with since the years he was U.S. Ambassador to Greece, to address a number of outstanding issues regarding U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus. We presented Under Secretary Burns with a copy of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements prepared by the AHI and endorsed by the leading Greek American membership organizations, the Order of AHEPA, Hellenic American National Council, Cyprus Federation of America, Panepirotic Federation of America, Pan-Macedonian Association of America, The PanCretan Association of America, and Pan-Pontian Federation of U.S.A. and Canada. Mr. Burns particularly noted the organizations listed and asked us to keep in touch with him,” stated AHI President, Gene Rosssides.

Also in the meeting were Matt Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Elise Mellinger, State Department Cyprus Desk Officer, and David Bame of Mr. Burns’ office.

Attached please find a photograph from this meeting.

(L-R) State Department Cyprus Desk Officer Elise Mellinger, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, AHI President Gene Rossides, AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, AHI Chairman James Marketos, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza.

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For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected]. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.