Greek diaspora minister urges closer ties with US Congress

Greek diaspora minister urges closer ties with US Congress

Developing ties and alliances in Congress is “vital” to strengthening the US-Greek relationship, Greece’s minister for the diaspora, Antonis Diamataris, told the inaugural Southeast Europe & East Med conference in Washington on Monday.

The Greek diaspora has emerged as a stabilizing factor through every crisis that has tested the Greek-American relationship but also “taught important lessons on how the [US] political system works and the role of Congress in general, especially in formulating foreign policy,” the deputy foreign minister told the conference, which is organized by the Delphic Economic Forum and Kathimerini.

“Times have changed,” Diamataris said, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), adding that Greece and the Greek-American community have in recent years developed powerful lines of communication with Congress and built alliances with other communities.

He stressed the contribution of senators Bob Menendez and John Sarbanes in presenting and defending Greece’s positions to American lawmakers on a number of issues, as well as praising the work of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, a body of 130 members of Congress, chaired by Gus Bilirakis of Florida and Carolyn Maloney of New York.

Diamataris noted the strengthening of ties with the Jewish community in America, calling it a “natural alliance” with a “huge multiplier effect,” the ANA-MPA said.

However, the Greek official warned, “you can never relax when we’re talking about a part of the world like Greece, Cyprus and Israel.” He added that the tripartite partnership between the three countries is “a continuous process.”