Menendez tries to include arms embargo issue in bill for National Defense Authorization Act, Zemenides tells CNA

US Senator, Robert Menendez, will try to include the issue of ending the Cyprus arms embargo implemented by the US in the bill for the National Defense Authorization Act, Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council has told CNA.

Zemenides and delegations of the Hellenic American Leadership Council and the American Jewish Committee, had meetings with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou. During his meetings in Nicosia Zemenides discussed, inter alia, the arms embargo issue.

After his meeting with Photiou, Zemenides told CNA that “before our meeting with the President, Senator Menendez notified me that he will try to include the issue of the embargo in the bill for the National Defense Authorization Act which passes every year. If it is not included into that we already have a bill on this issue,” he added. The bill was introduced recently by Senator Menendez.

Zemenides said that due to the pressure by the Greeks and Greek Cypriots living in the US, the Jewish-Americans, the Senate and the House, the Pentagon and the State Department have begun looking into this issue.

Referring to his meeting with Photiou, Zemenides said that they discussed political issues as the arms embargo and the effort “to put pressure on the US administration to upgrade Cyprus status as a strategic partner.”

He noted that Greeks and Greek Cypriots living in the US and the American Jewish Committee “are cooperating to bring together the countries and their communities.”

On his part, Photiou thanked Zemenides and his associates for the great efforts they are doing “with a view to promote, through concrete actions of the diaspora – to the extent possible – our interests in powerful decision making centres as those of the US.”

Photiou said that he discussed with the delegations of the Hellenic American Leadership Council and the American Jewish Committee about “concrete actions of our diasporas in the US.”

He said that such a visit as the one paid today will take place every year in order to discuss important issues regarding the cooperation of the three countries – Cyprus, Greece and Israel – as Energy, security in the region, and other issues.

Photiou said that the trilateral cooperation among the three countries is now bearing fruit on diaspora issues as well, noting that “diaspora is an important tool which brings the three countries together and promotes our interests in the US.”

He noted that cooperation among the diasporas of the three countries is one of the issues discussed in every Trilateral Summit the three countries have.

“It is important in countries as the US where we have powerful organizations of the diaspora to have these people help our countries and promote our interests,” he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency