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US Congressman Rob Andrews introduces draft resolution on Cyprus
2005-12-16 10:11:18

Washington DC, Dec 14 - US Congressman Rob Andrews (D-New Jersey) has introduced a draft resolution to a Congressional committee, supporting the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.

The draft resolution notes that ''a resolution of the Cyprus issue will assist Turkey to proceed with its accession to the EU'' and points out that ''goodwill and mutual confidence must precede a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Cyprus problem.''

It also expresses ''its strong support of the contents of the European Commission's 2005 Progress Report on Turkey, which states that Turkey continues to wrongfully impose its veto on the membership of Cyprus in certain international organisations, and insists in excluding Cyprus and Malta from the strategic cooperation between the European Union and NATO in crisis management thus hampering such cooperation, and restricts Cyprus-flagged vessels from entering Turkish ports and Cypriot civilian aircraft from using Turkish national airspace.''

Furthermore, the draft resolution ''calls upon Turkey to normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus and stop hampering strategic cooperation between the EU and NATO.''

It then states that ''the United States has shown consistent interest in resolving the Cyprus issue and has encouraged every effort in that direction,'' adding that ''both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders continue to affirm their commitment to reaching a settlement that reunifies the island and its people.''

"The Greek Cypriots have implemented a package of trade, aid, and good faith measures designed to assist their Turkish Cypriot compatriots by ensuring that the Turkish Cypriots can enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by all other citizens of Cyprus, such as free movement of goods, improved healthcare, education, trade, and employment opportunities,'' it adds.

Moreover, it underlines that ''Cyprus' accession to the EU in April 2004 has opened new avenues for the resolution of the division of the island and provided a greater sense of security for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,'' before stressing:

"Turkish occupying troops have been in Cyprus ever since the illegal occupation of 1974, and the number of these troops has increased over the last three decades so that there are now more than 40,000 Turkish troops in the occupied part of Cyprus, making this country one of the most militarized countries in the world.''

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