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Members of Congress warn colleagues about direct flights
2005-06-15 13:49:00

Washington DC, Jun 15 - Co-chairpersons of the Hellenic Caucus at the US Congress Michael Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney have sent a letter to Congress members, warning them that direct flights to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus are illegal.

In their letter, the two members of Congress note that direct flights to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus by members of the Congress and others violate UN Security Council resolutions and the Chicago Convention.

''The Republic of Cyprus' sovereignty is well established under both international law and convention. Cyprus' sovereignty is confirmed by a number of UN resolutions, including UN Security Council resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984). These Security Council resolutions remain in effect,'' they point out.

Bilirakis and Maloney furthermore note that the Republic of Cyprus has not authorised flights into the occupied airports and that ''international law mandates that flights cannot enter a country's airspace without the consent of the sovereign government.''

The Congress members are warned that ''flights to the occupied airports also raise serious human rights and property rights issues,'' since the airports in occupied Cyprus ''are located on property that was expropriated from its lawful owners during the Turkish invasion.''

''Flights into the occupied airports are not necessary. The Republic of Cyprus encourages visits to the occupied areas in a manner that does not create insurmountable legal issues,'' Bilirakis and Maloney add.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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