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Archbishop Spyridon asks President Clinton to move towards settlement in Cyprus

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Jul 17, 1998

GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA

8-10 East 79th St.

New York, NY 10021

Tel: (212) 570-3500 Fax: (212) 570-3569

web: http://www.goarch.org

e-mail: archdiocese@goarch.org, observer@goarch.org

Contact: Press Office

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

July 17, 1998

New York-- His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch today sent a letter to the President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton. In his letter he asked the President to make every effort to move the deadlocked parties towards a just settlement for the people of the Republic of Cyprus.

The letter implored the American leader to do everything that he could to find a way toward solving the impasse between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey. The text of the letter, which follows, called the President &qout;a fair and just man.&qout; Based upon this personal observation by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, he asked the American leader to seek to &qout;prevail against the forces of darkness and oppression.&qout; He continued by saying that: &qout;It may be that you are the only hope left, as the political leader of the United States, the standard bearer for democracy and human rights in the world. Please do not forget the people of Cyprus.&qout;

Archbishop Spyridon on Wednesday, sent his official representative, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of America, the Very Reverend Protopresbyter George Passias to the City Council of New York's commemoration of the invasion. The Speaker of the City Council, Mr. Peter Vallone issued a proclamation on the occasion of the anniversary of the invasion. In that message from the Archbishop, the Chancellor conveyed the feelings of His Eminence saying: &qout;We are painfully aware of how the politics of accommodation can all to easily diminish the painful truth of human suffering and injustice.&qout; Praising the City's efforts to keep the 24 year old occupation of the northern half of the island alive in the memory of the American people, the Chancellor said: &qout;Today we pray for Cyprus' release from occupation and the liberation of her people. We do so with the names of many nations and places upon our hearts, that justice and mercy and peace may be a water of regeneration for all humanity.&qout;

The complete text of His Eminence's letter to the President follows.

President Bill Clinton

The White House

Washington, D.C.

17 July 1998

Dear President Clinton,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I trust that the summer affords you some time to enjoy your lovely family. Please convey my regards to Hillary and to Chelsea.

I write to you on the anniversary of a bitter day in the life of our community. There is not a Greek American who does not remember with pain and sadness the invasion of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish forces on the 20th of July, 1974. This violent act that shattered a nation and exacerbated the animosities between the Turkish State and the Republic of Greece continue to affect the well being of both nations as well as the European Union. It has been twenty-four years.

Despite the good will of many individuals, there seems to be no solution in sight. We discern no movement that might cause us to rejoice that our thirst for basic human rights may be quenched by the waters of righteous action on behalf of freedom. My heart and the hearts of our faithful are heavy with sorrow on behalf of the people of Cyprus.

I know from my personal contact with you that you are a fair and just man. I want you to know that I earnestly pray for the enlightenment of all whose hearts have been hardened to the voice of Cyprus' long suffering division. I pray that your powerful office and reputation for fairness may prevail against the forces of darkness and oppression. It may be that you are the only hope left, as the political leader of the United States, the standard bearer for democracy and human rights in the world. Please do not forget the people of Cyprus.

I hope and pray that the Lord might grant you a moment of peace filled joy and rest with your family in summer's bright light. May God grant you, your family and the nation His abundant blessings. I remain your humble supplicant before the Lord.

Sincerely,

+Archbishop SPYRIDON

Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America

and

Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch

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Archives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's press releases are available online at: http://www.goarch.org/goa/press_releases
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