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Top US Policymakers Focus on Cyprus at Pseka Conference

Pseka conference Cyprus
Participants at the PSEKA conference pose outside Capitol Hill. Credit: Bill Petros/PSEKA

Top foreign policymakers in the United States Congress from both parties participated in the 38th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference May 9-11 as over 100 Cypriot and Greek-American leaders converged on Capitol Hill.

The conference was hosted by PSEKA and its President Philip Christopher and co-hosted by many of the top national Greek-American organizations including: AHEPA, AHI, CEH, HALC, FCAO, HANC and the US-Cyprus Chamber of Commerce.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides was represented at this important conference by Cyprus Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis.

Both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and James Risch (R-ID), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) addressed conference participants and turned the focus on Cyprus for a day.

In addition, the Chairs of the Senate and House Europe Subcommittees, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congressman Thomas Kean (R-NJ), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and the Chairman of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) met with conference participants.

The highest-ranking Democratic officials in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also spoke, along with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Senate Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Former Chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also spoke at length with conference participants during their panel, The Cyprus Issue – Then and Now.

Dozens of Senate and House members attend PSEKA conference on Cyprus

These leaders from both parties and branches of Congress were joined by dozens of their Senate and House colleagues who are key to the formulation of U.S. policy on Cyprus, Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and spent numerous hours speaking about and listening to the many elements that demonstrate Cyprus’s importance to the United States.

From the Biden Administration, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan received the “soil award.” Because his international trip was extended, he was not able to return to Washington in time to attend the conference. He plans to meet with a delegation of community leaders to receive this award in the near future.

In addition, the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Erika Olson, Director and Deputy Director for Southern European Affairs, Joshua Huck and David Galbraith, as well as Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Biden, Jeff Prescott attended.

Pseka conference Cyprus
(L-R) Greek Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou, Europe Subcommittee Chair Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Ambassador Tsunis, Spokesman Letymbiotis, Ambassador Lysiotis. Credit: Bill Petros/PSEKA

At the Conference dinner U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis was honored with the Athens/Livanos Award, while Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Jessica Lewis was honored with the Frizis Award. Former Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, former US Ambassador to Greece Tom Miller, and former Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce also attended.

Greece was represented by its Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou,  whose impactful work in Washington, DC over the last three years has been instrumental to the strength of US-Greece relations.

Cyprus Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis, in addressing US policymakers and conference participants said:

“The potential of a united Cyprus – as a normal and functional state – without anachronistic guarantees and without an occupying force – is limitless. A free and reunified Cyprus could play an even greater role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

“The United States has begun to acknowledge this potential and given Cyprus a vote of confidence. Our bilateral relationship, built on a shared vision of security, stability, peace, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, is at a historic high… With your help, we can discover opportunities to further expand our bilateral relationship.”

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