Greece, Cyprus must make ‘realistic’ proposals to new US administration, says HALC chief

Joe Biden and his foreign policy team are more familiar with Greek issues than any other American administration in history, Endy Zemenides, executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), tells Kathimerini.

Zemenides is regarded as one of the diaspora community’s most influential advocates, with inside access to the decision-making mechanics of Washington and excellent knowledge of the complex puzzle that comprises American relations with Greece and Cyprus, but also its approach to the broader Eastern Mediterranean.

He notes the many contacts the new president and his secretary of state and national security adviser had over the years with the Greek-American community, and calls on Athens and Nicosia to approach the new administration with well-formulated proposals that are bold yet realistic in order to have a better chance of being implemented.

With regard to US-Turkish relations, Zemenides stresses that the policy of appeasement and the “days of blank checks for the Erdogan regime are over,” though he does not see a complete rupture, but, rather, an effort to create a “positive agenda.” He also believes that the Biden administration will not stay quiet about Turkey’s destabilizing behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

He foresees America rejoining international initiatives for dealing with global problems such as climate change, underlining that Greece and Cyprus stand to benefit in this area if they bolster and promote their programs for renewable energy sources and make clear that energy diplomacy in the East Med that centers on natural gas is a bridge to a greener future.

Last but not least, the head of the Chicago-based HALC speaks of the deep divisions in American society, saying that the situation has deteriorated to the extent that many Republicans and Democrats will not even socialize anymore and even oppose their children marrying someone from the rival political camp.