Hellenic Caucus Backs Cypriot Reunification

Wite_HouseThe Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues in the U.S. introduced a non-binding resolution in the House of Representatives, stating that the U.S. remains committed to the Cypriot reunification issue. The resolution also emphasizes that any attempt to impose a settlement at this time is condemned, given the current economic crisis that the Republic of Cyprus is struggling with.

Resolutions have no official weight and can do almost nothing to help solve the dilemma of trying to reunify the island divided since Turkey invaded in 1974, and as it refuses to remove occupying troops from the northern third of the country.

Congresswoman and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said that, “The ongoing economic uncertainty in the Republic of Cyprus, along with the hardships facing its people, must not be viewed by the United States as an overwhelming factor in any reunification talks going forward. ”

She added: “I believe a reunified Cyprus is in the United States’ interest and will help pave the way for more prosperity and peace throughout the entire region. Cyprus is playing a vital role in European affairs while also strengthening relations with the United States. It has joined with us on issues important to our own security, including the fight against terrorism and other international crimes.”

Greek-American Congressman as well as co-chair of the Caucus, Gus M. Bilirakis, from Tarpon Springs, Fla., which has a sizeable Greek-American community, pointed out that, “The United States must remain committed to the reunification of Cyprus and should not allow others to use the current economic situation to force a settlement. For almost 40 years, Turkey has illegally occupied the northern region of this country, displacing residents and hindering the Republic of Cyprus’ ability to effectively govern. While a reunified Cyprus would undoubtedly contribute to the economic stability of the Eastern Mediterranean, it is imperative that the proper groundwork be laid before negotiations begin again.”

The Caucus introduced a resolution in the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations asking Turkey to allow the reopening of the Theological School of Halki under no conditions and without any further delays. This resolution was passed by an absolute majority of the parliamentary committee but has no binding authority other than letting members of Congress have their say.