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2003-04-02 18:53:45

March 31, 2003
Members of Congress Speak Out for a Reunited Cyprus
Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader ?disappoint? U.S. Lawmakers

U.S. Congressional reaction to the failed United Nations-sponsored peace talks at The Hague on March 11, 2003 -- that aimed at reunifying the Republic of Cyprus, forcibly divided since 1974 by the military occupation of Turkey - continues to build on long-standing U.S. policy in support of United Nations efforts to achieve a functional, just and lasting solution through negotiations.

Speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives or through statements officially submitted for the Congressional Record, House Members expressed their dissatisfaction with the Hague outcome by strongly criticizing the Turkish side for its intransigent stance that led the talks to breakdown. They also voiced their support for future peace efforts.

?Two weeks ago, we learned with great disappointment that the Secretary General was told by Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash that he could not accept the settlement plan and would not agree to the referenda despite the fact that informal polling indicated that the majority of the Turkish Cypriots were prepared to support the plan.

This Member urges the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to quickly resume negotiations to resolve this problem, to seize this rare opportunity for a peaceful settlement and urge the United Nations and the Bush administration to redouble their efforts to get the talks going once again, and to seek a Cyprus solution which at long last seems to be within our grasp.?

--- Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-NE
Chairman, Europe Subcommittee, House International Relations Committee
?I believe that the principal division between the enlightened view of the Greek Cypriots and the regressive view of Mr. Denktash is their willingness to let the people decide their own fate. In the set of principles articulated by Kofi Annan and the United Nations, there were many concessions made by the Greek Cypriots. There were many difficult decisions that the Greek Cypriot government would have to endure. That regime, because it is democratic, was willing to put that question to the people in the Greek part of Cyprus.

On the other hand, Mr. Denktash and his Turkish military sponsors were unwilling to let the voice of the Turkish Cypriot people determine their own fate.?

---Rep. Robert, Andrews, D - NJ
?Despite yesterday's giant setback, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, stressed that the Greek Cypriot side ``will continue the efforts for reaching a solution to the Cyprus question both before and after Cyprus joins the EU.'?

--- Rep. Frank Pallone, D - NJ
?I urge the government of Turkey to take constructive steps for resolving the Cyprus problem. And I urge the Administration to continue with its efforts to persuade Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot leader to work within the UN process to end the division of Cyprus.?

--- Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY

?Responsibility for this unfortunate setback in the peace process rests largely with one man, Mr. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader who rejected U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan to end the 29-year division of Cyprus. A large share of the blame also rests with the Turkish military and hard-line nationalists in Ankara, who have maintained the illegal Turkish military occupation of Cyprus since Turkish troops invaded the island in 1974. If the government of Turkey were sincere about settling the Cyprus problem, they could have put the necessary pressure on Mr. Denktash to say yes to the U.N. plan.

In sharp contrast to Mr. Denktash, the newly-elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, said yes to a public referendum on the Secretary General's plan. His response is consistent with years of efforts by the government of Cyprus to try to negotiate in good faith to reunify the country, efforts that have been consistently rebuffed by the separatist Turkish Cypriot regime.?

--- Rep. Michael Bilirakis, R-FL
?Our State Department has been clear in expressing its disappointment over Mr. Denktash's rejection of the U.N. referendum proposal, and in voicing hope that the process can resume. But now it's time for our government to put the necessary pressure on Mr. Denktash and the government of Turkey to negotiate in good faith and agree to a referendum.?

--- Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-NV
??the United States must remain involved in seeking a just and permanent solution to the Cyprus issue. The Bush administration must therefore put more pressure not only on the Turkish Cypriot leader but also on Turkey to cooperate constructively within the UN framework to realize a negotiated settlement on Cyprus.?

--- Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-NY
?It is apparent that while the Greek-Cypriot people and their leaders are ready for a peaceful settlement to this longstanding problem, the Turkish-Cypriot leaders, and possibly the leaders of Turkey as well, are not committed to a peaceful settlement at this time.?

--- Rep. Steven Rothman, D-NJ
?As may other members have expressed, I do not want the recent reunification talks, the fourth attempt since the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, to end in an impasse. The U.S. settlement cleared a path for all of Cyprus to unite once again, to share in the European Union's prosperity, and to end military zones.?

--- Rep. James Langevin, D-RI
In response to this outpouring of Congressional support, Cyprus? Ambassador to the United States Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis stated: ?This immediate reaction by Members of Congress is indicative of the long standing support in the United States for efforts to reunite Cyprus and to further strengthen the close relationship between our two countries?. # # #

For further information, visit the Embassy of Cyprus website:
http://www.cyprusembassy.net/ or contact the Embassy Press Office at (202) 232-8993

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