US Congressmen express disappointment with Rice-Talat meeting
Washington DC, Dec 22 - US Congressman Mike Bilirakis, Co-Chairman of the Hellenic Caucus, in a letter -signed by another 63 colleagues- to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, expresses concerns about the consequences of her extending a formal invitation to the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat and asks her to define her long-term plan for Cyprus.
The letter, also signed by Caucus co-chair Carolyn Maloney, points out that ''we were disappointed to learn that last month you extended a formal meeting invitation to Mehmet Ali Talat'' who is heading an entity in Turkish-occupied Cyprus that the US does not recognize.
It also notes that although Secretaries of State Baker and Powell have met with Turkish Cypriot leaders in the past, neither had extended a formal invitation because of concerns for the consequences of such an invitation to an entity the US does not recognize.
The Congressmen point out that her invitation and meeting with Mr. Talat is counterproductive to the US policy of supporting the reunification of Cyprus, forcibly divided by the 1974 Turkish invasion.
''Your action was inconsistent with one UN Security Council resolution" which calls on nations to extend no support to the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime, they add, pointing out that her move "emboldens the Turkish Cypriot 'government' not to negotiate in good faith for a reunification of Cyprus. It instead encourages a separate status for the occupied area."
It also stressed: "While we appreciate your dedication and attention to helping to make a reunified Cyprus a reality, we feel that your actions are inconsistent with United States policy and counterproductive to the policy of reunification. Therefore, we ask that you please explain your long term plan for Cyprus and where you intend to take United States foreign policy with respect to Cyprus."