Bill Papastergiadis, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne recently met with Mr Dendias, Foreign Minister of Greece along with Mr Katsaniotis, the Deputy Foreign Minister.
In a meeting that extended well beyond 30 minutes, numerous matters referable to Greece’s foreign policies and the activities of the Greek Community of Melbourne were discussed.
Bill said, “Mr Dendias was extraordinarily friendly and interested in the activities of the GCM. He was accommodating in making the meeting happen and expressed a desire for further dialogue”.
Bill referred the Foreign Minister to the work of a number of organisations and Greek media outlets in Australia that supported Greece on many of its foreign policy actions. Greece had broad support from many community groups.
Hel then made reference to the workings of the Greek community of Melbourne (GCM), noting that the GCM, “had previously lobbied the Australian Government on a number of foreign policy matters referable to Greece . In 2021 the GCM sent numerous letters to the Australian Government on matters including the Turkish incursions in the eastern Mediterranean, the transformation of Aghia Sofia and on the continued invasion of Cyprus”.
“With all of our correspondence, the then Australian Government responded in positive terms highlighting a number of points. First, the Australian Government made it clear that resolutions need to be based on international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Bill said.
“Next, the Government stated that “it supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and recognises the Republic as the only legitimate authority on the island.””
Bill also referred to the need for additional cooperation and deeper ties between the two countries.
In that regard Bill referred to the need for both countries to finalise the double taxation agreement in 2022. Bill also asked for consideration of a bilateral health agreement and to have exchanges of students and academics at university level which hopefully would involve the recognition of degrees in certain fields. He made reference to recent discussions with Maria Vamvakinou before his departure to Greece who expressed as always a keen desire to build stronger ties.
Bill also noted the strong support of Immigration Minister Andrew Giles on a few upcoming initiatives of the GCM and how the broader Greek community is held in general high regard by Government.
Foreign Minister Mr Katsaniotis noted that he would arrange a meeting in the next week with the Greek Health Minister.
Mr Dendias thanked Bill Papastergiadis for his visit. Mr. Dendias was appreciative of the focus on the activities of the GCM and referenced Greek foreign ministry initiatives which would involve ongoing support of the Greek community in Melbourne with additional programs and upgraded consular services.