The 27th annual Conference of the Hellenic-American Leadership for Greece and Cyprus has opened in Washington, in the presence of Cyprus Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Nikos Emiliou, Greek Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis and Cyprus Ambassador Pavlos Anastasiades, as well as leading members of the Greek American community.

Anthony Blinken, the national security policy adviser to US Vice President Joe Biden, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural session. In his speech, Blinken, referring to the Cyprus issue, said that “everybody is working for a settlement before Cyprus assumes the EU Presidency”. Blinken referred to relations between the US, Cyprus and Greece, and spoke about the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations and religious freedoms with regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As Blinken put it, “the aim of reunifying Cyprus is paramount and central to the goals Cyprus and the US are trying to achieve together”. He said moreover that bilateral relations between the two countries are becoming stronger every day and referred to US assistance in security and public order issues, scholarships, business relations and growing investments. The US official thanked the Cyprus government for allowing the docking of US vessels and assisting the recent evacuation of US citizens during events in Egypt.

On the latest developments in Cyprus, Blinken said the US strongly supports the current negotiation process aiming at reunifying Cyprus in a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, with political equality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship. “We strongly support the Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led process, under the auspices of the good offices of the UN Secretary General, led by special advisor Alexander Downer, aiming to achieve a just and lasting settlement in the island” Blinken noted.

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