US Congressman advocates progress on July 8th agreement
United States Representative, Mr. Robert Wexler, a democrat from Florida, has called for progress on a UN-brokered agreement, between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, with a view to make headway towards substantive negotiations for a political settlement.
Representative Wexler also pointed out in a letter to the US Secretary of State that ending the division of Cyprus will enhance Turkey’s European Union prospects and at the same time strengthen its relations with Greece. He added that “Troop deployment on Cyprus seems to be disproportional – given the low threat level facing Turkish-Cypriots”, Wexler said, adding that ''thirteen million crossings of the Green Line have occurred without incident''.
The Congressman called for the protection of places of worship and religious sights on Cyprus and said it was “important to move forward on the five points included in the July 8, 2006 agreement”, which provides for the establishment of technical group and working teams that will deal with day to day issues as well as substantive issues, with a view to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations.
He also commended ''the recent decision by Cyprus President Papadopoulos to demolish a key section of the barrier dividing Cyprus’ capital city Nicosia, with the hope of opening Ledra Street as an additional crossing-point” to and from the island’s northern Turkish occupied areas.
A press release by the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) stated that “Chairman Wexler does a favour for America, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and the region by his helping Turkey understand that changing their Cyprus position to a reasonable one is clearly in their best interests. As Chairman Wexler said, ending their division of Cyprus will enhance Turkey’s EU prospects and at the same time strengthen its relations with its neighbour Greece.”
PSEKA stated that leaders of the Greek American community note that at meetings with US Administration officials emphasise that Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots are harmed by Americans who support previous extremist Turkish positions. PSEKA hopes that “Chairman Wexler’s letter to Secretary Rice is a sign of a new enlightened and constructive advocacy for Turkey in the U.S. For it is only through the advocacy of the principles which have made America and the free world great that Turkey will move forward in the world, the region will heal from 33-years of Turkish occupation of Cyprus and America’s security interests in the region will be served.”