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Cyprus honoured American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris on Sunday with one of the country’s top awards, the Grand Commander of the Order of Makarios III.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades presented the medal to Harris during a ceremony at the residence of the Cypriot Ambassador to the United Nations in New York.

Harris, who has been visiting Cyprus since the 1980s, expressed gratitude for the honor.

“Cyprus is a valuable, indeed essential, partner of Israel, the United States, and the Jewish people,” said Harris.

Over the past eight years, Harris has frequently met with Anastasiades, both in Cyprus and the United States

In 2017, Anastasiades addressed the AJC Global Forum. They years before, he received AJC’s Light Unto the Nations Award.

Addressing Harris, Anastasiades said: “At the helm of AJC for more than three decades, your role has been absolutely instrumental in steering the evolution of your prestigious organization’s strong collaboration with Cyprus and expanding Cypriot ties with Israel and the United States.”

He continued: “Through your uprightness, resilience and creativity, you managed to promote a practical and tangible cooperation between many of the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and to advance a strategic partnership between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States, all of which share your vision of a peaceful and prosperous region.”

Anastasiades praised Harris for the “global recognition of your extraordinary work in defense of human rights and dignity, and in combating intolerance, anti-Semitism, discrimination and hate of any shape or form.”

He also applauded Harris for being a leading voice in ending the 47-year Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, which would reunited the Island nation.

“The Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus are indebted to you for your steadfast support to our efforts in reaching a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue, in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” said Anastasiades.

American Cypriot and Hellenic organizations as well as Greek, Israeli and American officials attended the ceremony.

“For nearly four decades, Cyprus and Greek-Cypriots around the world have been lucky to have enjoyed ‘philia’ or ‘friendship’ with David Harris. David’s contributions to this friendship were many,” said Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC).

Zemenedies added: “He recognized the friendship’s potential – both in the Eastern Mediterranean and among the Greek American and American Jewish communities – from the start. He never allowed Cyprus to stand alone, and he supported landmark initiatives like the establishment of the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance and the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act,” Zemenides continued. “Cyprus is most certainly better off for this ‘philia’ and this honor is a fitting way to say ‘efharisto’ (thank you).”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)