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Congressman Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) on unanimous approval of H.CON.RES. 164 2002-07-24 18:18:29

Washington, D.C.,

- Congressman Mike Bilirakis (R-FL),co-chair and founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, today announced that H. Con. Res. 164, a bill which expresses Congressional support for Cyprus' accession into the European Union, was unanimously approved by the Europe Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee.

Bilirakis said, "What happened today is a triumph for all Cypriots and confirms the United States' support for Cyprus' accession into the European Union." "It is in the interest of the United States to promote a strong and vibrant Cyprus, which will enhance the future strength of our alliance," stated Bilirakis.

The resolution follows the Helsinki Conclusions of 1999, which state that while a solution to the political crisis in Cyprus is preferable prior to EU accession, it is not a precondition for entry. Cyprus is a leading candidate for accession into the European Union in 2003/2004. The United States government has strongly supported both; a resolution to the Cyprus occupation and Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

"The most meaningful way to ensure a thriving and beneficial US-Cyprus relationship is to promote Cyprus' membership in the European Union. I hope that by today's approval of the bill, a stumbling block in comprehensive settlement negotiations will be removed, and it will eventually allow Turkey to strive toward the laudable goal of its own accession," concluded Bilirakis.

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