During his time in Manhattan this week to attend the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with representatives of Greek-American organizations.
Venizelos offered an address yesterday evening that was held at the Greek Consulate General in Manhattan. Greek Consulate General Georgios Iliopoulos, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Michel Spinellis and Greek Ambassador to the USA Christos Panagopoulos were in attendance.
Leading Greek-American organizations including the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, and the New York City Greek Film Festival Society were represented during the Greek government leader's speech.
Venizelos spoke of Hellenism in its purest form, "I wanted to ask of you once again – I do this every time I address the Greek community here in the U.S., as in the other countries we visit, where there is a flourishing Hellenic element, including, naturally, Cypriot Hellenism – not to take up, at all, the domestic political conflicts in Greece. Hellenism must be unbroken and unified, rallying together, because our goal here is to promote the name of Greece: the symbols, the successes, the vast cultural heritage, and of course the modern face of a Greece that is emerging from the crisis after five very difficult years of adjustment, recession".
Venizelos offered comments regarding Greece's UNGA agenda, "Our stances on all the issues, as I had the opportunity to set out for the UN Secretary General a short while ago, are very clear, and my meeting tomorrow morning with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, is an opportunity to reiterate our common national line on the Cyprus issue. But of course the same holds true for the issue of the name of our neighbouring country, FYROM. The same holds true for Greek-Turkish relations, for our stance on the Western Balkans. The same holds true for Greece's positions on all the regional and international crises that are simmering. Because rarely, over the past 25 years, have we had so many crises. Never perhaps, in the past 30 years, have we had so many open crises in the southern and eastern neighbourhood of the European Union, very close to us. Very close to Greece. Very close to regions of particular interest for Hellenism. ".
The PASOK leader discussed the importance of the Greek-American community, "It is also very important, here in the United States, for the Hellenism of the Diaspora – of the business world, the academic world, the world of American society and life – to overturn unfair and unfounded stereotypes against Greece. We often see the repetition of views about Greece that are unfair and unfounded. And your pride in your Greek identity is what convinces our collocutors in American society, in the American economy, in the American media".
Venizelos called on Greek-Americans to support their homeland during its financial restoration, "We also need your help to support the effort towards the recovery of Greece's real economy. The investments we need are those that will create jobs, that will allow us to overcome the major problem of unemployment – and youth unemployment, in particular – in Greece. Greece has vast potential. The crisis made us more mature, and it has to make us all much more responsible. The truth is, the only path is to implement a national reconstruction plan and a new production model in Greece, based on the work of Greeks. Based on our labor, our intellect, our land. We have two indigenous development resources: our people and our land. Everything starts from there. And Greek tourism – its performance and potential – is the best example. An equally good example is Greek agricultural production and the Greek food industry. And I need no other example than you of what Hellenic intellectual capital means: It excels everywhere, wherever it finds itself, throughout the world. ".
The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister concluded his remarks, "With these thoughts, I would like to thank you for your presence. I would like to encourage you – you who represent organized Hellenism in New York and the U.S. And on behalf of my wife and on behalf of the Greek delegation, I would like to thank the Consul General once again, our Ambassador in Washington, our Permanent Representative to the UN. And I wish each of you health and family prosperity. And let us all share in the wish that our homeland take the position it deserves in Europe and the world".
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