AHI tables US bill against illegal usurpation of G/C property
Nicosia, Jun 8 ? The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has introduced a bill that will pave the way for American citizens of Cypriot origin to proceed with law suits against Turkey for the illegal usurpation of their properties in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
During a press conference in Nicosia, Mr. Nicholas Karambelas, AHI's Legal Advisor, said that the bill has been initiated by AHI and endorsed by Congressman Frank Pallone from the State of New Jersey. The bill already has 32 co-sponsors, adding that he expects AHI to table the bill before the US Senate next week.
Mr. Karambellas also said the proposed bill will enable US citizens who own property in occupied Cyprus to sue in American Federal courts for back - rent for their property.
''It will also direct the Secretary of State to open the Government to Government claim Act with the Government of Turkey, just like the US Government has done in connection with Vietnam, Iraq and wherever American property has been taken,'' he said, adding that the bill ''will amend our (US) foreign sovereign immunity Act, which means that Turkey is immune by law suits by US citizens in US courts at the moment and will amend it to allow suits directly against Turkey in American courts?
American citizens will also be able to sue any private entity which is occupying their property in the occupied part of Cyprus.
An AHI delegation is visiting Nicosia since Monday and flies to Athens on Saturday for a three-day visit.
AHI's President Gene Rossides said the Institute's aim is to strengthen US relations with Cyprus.
''Our aim is to support the proper reunification of Cyprus, to get rid of Turkish occupation troops and Turkish settlers and to allow the return of refugees to their homes,'' Mr. Rossides also said.
Regarding the US positions on Cyprus, Mr. Rossides said that ''unfortunately we have not been able to move the executive branch that much'', adding that AHI can ''win, I think any vote that comes up to the House of Representatives floor and I think we can come pretty close to that now on the Senate floor''.
He added that the US position towards the Greek Cypriot side since the April 2004 referendum, when the Greek Cypriots rejected a UN proposed plan, has improved.