Political leaders of Cyprus praised the speech given by Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the joint session of US Congress. They were impressed by his references to the Cyprus issue, President Anastasiades labelling the speech ‘historic’ and saying the “powerful position of principle was of vital importance for the struggle of our country.” He “made it clear in front of Congress that nobody would accept the two-state solution Turkey wants for Cyprus,” said Disy leader Averof Neophytou.
Mitsotakis referred the occupation of Cyprus as an “open wound that has caused Hellenism unending pain over the past 48 years,” and said the issue “had to be resolved in accordance with international law and in line with the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council.” He emphasised that “nobody can and nobody will accept a two-state solution in Cyprus.” The prime minister also took a strong line on Greece’s disputes with Turkey, underlining that “we will not accept acts of aggression that violate our sovereignty and our territorial rights.”
This was the first ever address of a joint session of US Congress by a Greek leader and if the applause was anything to go by, it was a resounding success. Mitsotakis had a receptive audience not just because of his eloquence and erudition, which played a part, but because ties between the US and Greece have never been better. Under Mitsotakis, Greece has discarded the ambivalence with which successive governments, under pressure from the country’s left-leaning media and intelligentsia, had viewed the US and the West.
Greece has finally taken its rightful place among the Western group of nations without ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. It’s very clear stance on the war in Ukraine has proved this. It sent humanitarian aid and weapons to Ukraine and welcomed refugees from the war-torn country. “We stand by Ukraine against Putin’s aggression,” Mitsotakis told Congress. Putin “must not succeed, not only for the sake of Ukraine, but also in order to send a message to all authoritarian leaders that open acts of aggression would not be tolerated by the global community of democratic states,” he added.
We have not heard President Anastasiades take such a clear stand against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. During his time in office, Cyprus has maintained very strong ties with Moscow, which made the US treat us with a certain scepticism despite an improvement in relations. But Cyprus can still not be viewed as a trusted and reliable partner by Washington in the way the Greece of Mitsotakis currently is, as his visit to the US illustrated.