It is a true pleasure and a distinct honour to welcome to Cyprus this morning a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. This certainly give us all the opportunity to discuss, brainstorm on and cherish the evolution of this very special relationship between Cyprus, Israel, and Greece, as well as the indispensable role that our Diaspora organizations play in the U.S. and around the world.
In the light of underlying challenges and opportunities, and given the fluid and unpredictable situation in our region, our three countries continue to share the same democratic values, strong family and social ties and quite similar cultural characteristics. They all serve as beacons of light and remain the only democratic, and the most predictable and reliable allies of the U.S. in the immediate region. Our countries geographic proximity to each other puts them in the same position to face the similar challenges, such as aggressiveness from neighboring third countries, anti-semitism and violent fundamentalism.
The organized Diaspora of our countries has proved in the past how powerful and influential they can be. Your energy, means and vision could become powerful tools for us. That is why we decided to include this unique aspect of our partnership under the already existing High-level Trilateral scheme of cooperation, with relevant references incorporated in the text of the Israel – Greece – Cyprus Trilateral Summit Declaration, adopted in December 2016, in Jerusalem. There, it was also agreed that the three countries would encourage a trilateral gathering between the representatives of the diaspora organizations in order to plan future cooperation – something which will take place probably here in Cyprus this summer.
We have put together a meeting with my Israeli and Greek counterparts on March 7, 2017 in Jerusalem, for the purpose of assessing the progress achieved so far and for our future common initiatives. On that front, we have already laid a commonly agreed Action Plan which will enable our cooperation to further expand. This Plan encourages the deepening of our communities’ cooperation in several other world capitals where the presence of our Diaspora is vibrant, as well as for joint cultural events and business ventures, schemes of cooperation between our Diaspora youth organizations, scholarship opportunities and exchange of multi-thematic visits, among others. We are also planning to bring together the tourism authorities and operators of our three countries to encourage deals for tourists to combine their holidays in our three countries.
The example of cooperation between our respective Diaspora organizations in the United States is phenomenal and praiseworthy. One solid evidence of this growing partnership is the Congressional Hellenic Israeli Alliance Caucus in the U.S. Congress (also known as CHIA), which was established back in February 2013. That way, a significant number of active and influential Members of the Congress promote the common interests of Cyprus, Israel, Greece and the United States on Capitol Hill. It is certainly a “success story” that we have to duplicate in other important decision-making centers around the world.
Welcome to Cyprus.
Our hearts are warm and our ears are open. Together, with common vision, coordination, hard work and the support of our Diaspora organizations, we can achieve more for our countries and the generations to come.
Source: Press and Information Office