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Biden urged to invite Christodoulides to White House to mark invasion anniversary

file photo: u.s. president biden visits ireland
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden

A group of Greek-American US Congress members from the Hellenic Caucus have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, urging him to formally welcome President Nikos Christodoulides, to the White House, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

A formal state visit will shine a powerful light on the peace building that remains to be done in Cyprus and will demonstrate America’s broad interest in peaceful conflict resolution across the globe, Chris Pappas, John Sarbanes, Gus Bilirakis, Nicole Malliotakis and Dina Titus said in their letter.

The five members of Congress pointed out that the invitation to the Cypriot president would be an important statement to allies under threat of authoritarian control that the United States is a resolute world leader committed to the preservation and promotion of democratic liberties.

They also pointed out to Joe Biden that he had done more than any American president in recent memory to raise the alarm about the threats to democracy at home and abroad.

“Demonstrating solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus, a key partner in that continuing struggle, will reaffirm your unwavering commitment to strengthening democratic principles at this critical moment,” they added.

Moreover they asked that he leverages the power of the 3+1 Framework to further the shared strategic interests of the United States and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean region by expeditiously convening a 3+1 (Cyprus, Greece, Israel + US) Foreign Ministerial meeting.

During a time of rising global tensions, it was more important than ever to promote regional stability and enhance collaboration among key partner nations on mutual economic and political goals by facilitating these regional talks, they said.

The Greek American members of Congress also applauded initial steps to add Cyprus to the visa waiver programme alongside many of its European Union neighbours. “This programme serves to strengthen people-to-people ties between nations and the inclusion of Cyprus is the right policy. We urge a smooth and efficient admission of Cyprus into the programme once the necessary security steps are completed by your administration,” they noted.

They also thanked Joe Biden “for fully lifting the arms embargo on Cyprus through 2024. This decision is a testament to the reforms Cyprus has implemented consistent with the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019, to thwart Russian influence and money laundering,” they said.

“While we believe this is an important first step in recognition of Cyprus’ ongoing commitment to these reforms, we urge you to extend this lifting of the arms embargo beyond a one-year time frame which will allow for advanced planning and ensure interoperability with allies,” they further noted.

They also pointed out that Biden’s long-standing record of support for the US- Cyprus relationship is deeply appreciated by all who have worked over these last five decades to achieve justice for the Cypriot people.

“We know that you feel the gravity of this moment as acutely as we do and ask you to mark this sober occasion with concrete, meaningful actions that can advance a just solution in Cyprus,” they said.

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