President Nicos Anastasiades has bestowed on the CEO of the American Jewish Committee David Harris the Medal of the Grand Commander of the Order of Makarios III.
At a special ceremony on Sunday evening in New York, Anastasiades said the honour is for Harris’ extraordinary work in defense of human rights and dignity around the world.
As well as for his immense contribution to the enhancement of relations between Cyprus, Israel, Greece and the United States.
Anastasiades said: “David Harris, the son of Holocaust survivors, has dedicated his life to the promotion of Jewish interests, with the late Israeli President Shimon Peres describing him as “the foreign minister of the Jewish people”.
He added: “This is a statement that encapsulates Mr. Harris’ leadership these past 30 years at the helm of the American Jewish Committee, since, through his vision and hard work, he managed to establish the AJC as one of the most influential Jewish advocacy organisations.”
The President also said it was no coincidence that the AJC has rapidly expanded to 39 regional offices and representatives, establishing 37 partnerships with international Jewish community organisations.
And, at the same time, maintaining friendly relations with more than 110 governments around the world.
“Ever since the military invasion of Turkey in 1974, Mr. Harris never shied away from condemning not only Turkey’s actions, but also all those who, based on their own interests, turn a blind eye at the unacceptable status quo in Cyprus,” Anastasiades said.
“As he said – and I quote: “Turkey, to take just one example, has brazenly and illegally occupied more than one-third of the island nation of Cyprus for 46 years, deployed an estimated 40,000 Turkish troops there, and transferred countless settlers from Anatolia, yet not a peep about Ankara from those who purport to act in the name of “justice” and against “occupation.”
In addition, the President also said that, as a man of principles, David did not hesitate to immediately condemn Turkey’s illegal and aggressive actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
These included the repeated intrusions of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, the intention to change the status of part of the fenced city of Famagusta, as well as the Turkish irrational position for a two-state solution, outside the UN parameters.