Nicosia, Cyprus, August 29, 2023
US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was awarded the Gold Medal of Apostle Barnabas by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus during a visit to the island nation on Thursday.
Sen. Menendez, who is the top democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was granted the award by Archbishop Georgios “for his contribution to the struggle of the Greek Cypriots for justice and liberty,” reports aa.com.tr.
The senator also held several meetings with Cypriot politicians during his visit.
Menendez’s wife is Cypriot on her mother’s side, and the senator is known for his connection to the Greek and Armenian lobbies. He has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the Biden administration’s plans to sell F-16s to Turkey.
“As a child of Cuban refugees who left Cuba and went to the US for a better life, I understand what it means to yearn for freedom for the country you are leaving and once called home,” Menendez said during the award ceremony, underlining that the threat coming from Turkey must be taken very seriously.
“Let us continue to fight to make sure that the last boot of the last Turkish soldier leaves Cyprus,” the US senator said. “If we have faith in God and democratic values and principles, we can create an Eastern Mediterranean that will be peaceful and prosperous,” he concluded.
In turn, the Archbishop described Sen. Menendez as a “man of principles … with a will of steel.”
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