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Last night Greece's Minister of Defense Akis Tsohatzopoulos had a historic meeting with the Greek and Jewish lobbies in Washington, D.C. This working dinner, arranged by the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, led by Andrew A. Athens, Philip Christopher and Andrew Manatos, included key Jewish and Greek-American senators and members of Congress from the foreign affairs and defense related committees and leaders and representatives of top Greek-American and Jewish organizations.

"Minister Tsohatzopoulos' visit to Washington provided an opportunity to take an important next step in our working relationship of over 25 years with the Jewish community in the United States," said Andrew A. Athens, national chairman of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC) and who, in another capacity, serves as president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE). In 1993 Athens led a delegation of Jewish and Greek-American leaders on a tour of Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

"Minister Tsohatzopoulos did an excellent job of highlighting the shared values between the countries of Greece, Cyprus and Israel. This closed-door meeting also offered an opportunity for a frank discussion of the security concerns of the three countries," said Philip Christopher, president of PSEKA and the Pancyprian Association of America.

"Although we often meet with our friends in the Jewish community in Washington and present each year to a helpful member of the Jewish community the Frizis Award, this meeting was quite unique. This discussion re-focused key foreign policy-makers from the two communities on the great potential for further cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel and between those in the U.S. whose families originate from these countries," said Andrew E. Manatos, president of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes.

Those from the U.S. Congress participating in this historic meeting included Jewish and Greek-American senators and members from the following key committees: the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the Senate Armed Services Committee; the House International Relations Committee; the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee; and the House National Security Committee.

Those Jewish organizations represented at this meeting included: the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC).

Minister Tsohatzopoulos was accompanied by Greece's Ambassador to the U.S. Loucas Tsilas and several advisors. Other Greek-American leaders joining Athens, Christopher and Manatos at this meeting included Bishop Methodios of Boston, representing the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Nikos Mouyiaris, executive vice president of the Pancyprian Association of America.

For more information, please contact Mike Manatos at (202) 393-7790.

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