AHI Praises Members of Congress for voicing their concerns to Secretary Powell and Secretary-General Annan re Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC— On March 19, 2004 Rep. Bilirakis and Maloney sent letters to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that voice concerns about the viability of the Annan Plan for Cyprus. Rep. Bilirakis and Maloney were joined by 45 Members of Congress who co-signed the letters.

American Hellenic Institute Executive Director, Nick Larigakis, stated today:

"I applaud the Members of Congress who signed the letters to Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Cyprus. We are particularly thankful to Rep. Bilirakis and Maloney for introducing these two letters that stress the flaws in the Annan Plan and the need for serious changes in it, in the best interests of the U.S."

The American Hellenic Institute has analyzed the Annan Plan and has repeatedly pointed out the need for changes to make it democratic, workable, financially viable and just. To this effect AHI initiated a two-fold campaign:

AHI initiated an action through the Offices of Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, to send a letter to public officials informing them on the flaws of the Annan Plan. Within this initiative AHI undertook two actions: on the grassroots level it urged its members and friends to contact their Representatives and urge them to sign on the Bilirakis-Maloney letter. At the congressional level, AHI sent out an announcement to all members of the House of Representatives and telephoned numerous Representatives, urging them to co-sign the letters. Earlier, AHI gathered the support of the major Greek American membership organizations and issued on February 17, 2004 a Joint Policy Statement on the "Need for Serious Changes in the Annan Plan." Please see our 05/2004 Press Release on our website at http://www.ahiworld.com/press_releases/021704.html.

AHI General Counsel sent a letter to President Bush notifying him that a significant element of the Greek American community opposes the Plan the way it is and that it needs serious modifications in the interests of the U.S..

"We are very pleased with the outcome of our initiatives so far and we would like to thank all the U.S. Representatives as well as our members and friends who helped to facilitate this effort," Mr. Larigakis said.

Mr. Larigakis stressed the urgent need to continue the effort to explain the flaws in the Annan Plan to the Executive Branch, Congress and the American people.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at angeliki@ahiworld.org. For general information on AHI, see our website at www.ahiworld.org.

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