The World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association (WHIA) has strengthen its resolve on pursuing the Return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece campaign, at its 7th General Assembly held in Athens from July 29 to August 2.
“The WHIA recognizes that the opening of the new Acropolis museum now removes a major barrier used against Greece in the past, namely not having an appropriate museum to house the artefacts in,” said John Pandazopoulos the newly elected President of the WHIA to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE).
“We have resolved to activate our Members for this long standing cause by pursuing the issue with their Governments and in their legislatures, by signing up other legislators to the cause and by writing to the UK Government and UK Ambassadors and Consul-Generals in their respective countries,” he added.
The WHIA is an international organisation of legislators of Hellenic heritage from some 25 countries, excluding Greece and Cyprus. Its members consist of 70 different legislatures around the world.
The 7th General Assembly also called for a just settlement to the Cyprus issue respecting human rights in accordance with UN and EU resolutions and noted that the presence of Turkish troops on the island was inconsistent with this view.
It also recognised and supported the latest confidence building measure to reopen Famagusta as an international city and to allow for property owners and legal inhabitants to return to the city who had left after the 1974 conflict.
The General Assembly also called on Turkey to recognise that the Greek Pontian Genocide did occur and was perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire.
It also called for a solution to the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, within a two year period and that any solution on the issue should respect peaceful relations to all neighbouring countries.
The General Assembly recognised that the Government of FYROM should work within the framework of the Unites Nations to achieve a longstanding solution based on a composite name with geographical qualifier and for all international uses.
The 7th General Assembly also called on the Hellenic Republic to fully support efforts to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the Greek minority in Albania are respected by the Albanian Government.-The 7th General Assembly elected its new Board and a new WHIA President.
The Board consists of: President John Pandazopoulos MP Parliament of Victoria, Senior Vice-President Rhode Island State Senator Lou Raptakis, USA, Junior Vice-President George Chatzimarkakis MEP, a member of the European Parliament elected in Germany, Treasurer- George Souris MP Parliament of New South Wales. Regional Representatives – USA: State Representative Tom Katsiantonis – State House of New Hampshire, State Representative Michael Cheokas – State House of Georgia. Canada: John Cannis- Member of House of Commons. EU Europe:-Nikos Papadopoulos- Member of Swedish Parliament. Non-EU Europe: Olga Kovitidi, Member of Regional Assembly of Crimea, Ukraine.