WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Diplomats, Members of Congress, Greek-American and Cypriot-American partners, and AJC leaders gathered on Capitol Hill this evening to celebrate the third anniversary of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance (CHIA). The caucus is designed to raise awareness of the importance of—and encourage U.S support for—the trilateral relationship among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, which has yielded important political and national security benefits for the U.S. and the region.
The idea for the Congressional caucus, now more than 50 Members strong, was born three years ago at a meeting between leaders from AJC and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who co-chairs the caucus with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). The anniversary reception, jointly sponsored by AJC and HALC, was preceded by a day of joint advocacy with members of the Jewish and Hellenic communities, which included meetings with more than 50 Congressional offices on issues of mutual concern.
AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris spoke at the anniversary event, along with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos, and more than a dozen Members of Congress.
"In recent years, the trilateral links among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel have increased dramatically, as the three nations have developed close cooperation in many fields—from culture to tourism, from energy to research and development, from joint military exercises to counterterrorism," said Harris. "In the turbulent eastern Mediterranean, these three democracies have much to gain from deepening their connections. The United States, with considerable interests in this part of the globe, is a direct beneficiary of the growing partnership and the security and stability it represents."
"In the early 1980s, together with our Hellenic-American friends, AJC began to focus on the ties among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel at a time when they were far less-developed than they are today," Harris added. "To be able to celebrate not only the growing links among these nations, but also Congressional recognition and support of the relationship, is truly remarkable and gratifying."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee