Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked the US Congress not to forget Cyprus, in a historic address, he delivered on Tuesday.
The address was received by Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris and elected representatives and garnered a round of applause.
“I ask you, esteemed members of Congress, not to forget an open wound that has caused Hellenism unending pain over the past 48 years. I am referring to the invasion and subsequent division of Cyprus,"
Mitsotakis is the first Greek Prime Minister to address Congress. He referred to the Cyprus issue, the war in Ukraine, and to Turkey's airspace violations over the Greek islands while making it clear that Putin will not achieve his goal.
“I ask you, esteemed members of Congress, not to forget an open wound that has caused Hellenism unending pain over the past 48 years. I am referring to the invasion and subsequent division of Cyprus," he noted.
This issue, Mitsotakis stressed, "has to be resolved in accordance with international law and in line with the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council."
"As I told President Biden yesterday, nobody can and nobody will accept a two-state solution in Cyprus,” he added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, described the speech as a historic one, posting on his Twitter feed that the speech given by Mitsotakis "highlighted the role in which Greece and Cyprus can play with regards to the security and cooperation in our region, moreover, the powerful position of principles expressed on the Cyprus problem is decisive with regards to the struggle of our country."
Referring to Ukraine, the Greek Prime Minister said that "we stand by Ukraine against Putin’s aggression. We delivered humanitarian aid. We supported the Ukrainians with weapons to help them defend their homeland. And we have welcomed, with open arms, refugees who have fled their homeland in search of safety for themselves and their families."
Putin, he added, "is striving to create a world in which power is for the strong state but not the small. A world in which territorial claims are made on the basis of historical fantasies and enforced by aggression, rather than decided by peace treaties. A world in which armies rather than diplomats settle disputes."
"He will not succeed. He must not succeed. He must not succeed, not only for the sake of Ukraine but also in order to send a message to all authoritarian leaders that historical revisionism and open acts of aggression that violate international law will not be tolerated by the global community of democratic states. The language of resentment, revisionism and imperial nostalgia shall not prevail,” Mitsotakis continued.
Referring to Turkey he said that "Greece is a peace-seeking democracy that always extends a hand of friendship to our neighbors. We are always open to dialogue. But there is only one framework we can use to resolve our differences: international law and the unwritten principles of good neighborly relations."
"I want to be absolutely clear. We will not accept open acts of aggression that violate our sovereignty and our territorial rights. These include overflights over Greek islands, which must stop immediately," he pointed out.
Greece's Prime Minister underlined that "the last thing that NATO needs at a time when our focus is on helping Ukraine defeat Russia’s aggression is another source of instability on NATO’s southeastern flank. And I ask you to take this into account when you make defense procurement decisions concerning the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Mitsotakis also highlighted democratic values as NATO allies confront Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Our shared values are once again being tested,” he emphasized.
The Greek Prime Minister spoke of the ties between Greece and the USA from the Greek revolution until today.
"Replace the word Greece with Ukraine and you will see the similarities," he said, adding that "as in Mariupol, so in Messolonghi in 1826 the defenders of the city repulsed one attack after another before surrendering."
Mitsotakis also made special reference to the Greek-American community.
“No matter how uneducated the Greeks or how menial their work, they would typically apply themselves with great determination and embrace any chance to prosper in life and educate their children," he said.
They offered them (their children), he added, "a brighter future, fulfilling the solemn duty that every generation should be able to live a better life than the previous one. They experienced the American dream, but never forgot where they came from."
"Today the Greeks who live in the US and the three million Americans who identify themselves as Greeks include some of the most respected leaders in the arts, science, education, medicine, the judiciary, and, of course, politics," Mitsotakis said.