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Statement of Eugene T. Rossides on U.S-Greek War of Words



July 27, 1998 No. 32/98

July 26, 1998

Public disagreements between tried and trusted allies are never welcome. The current exchange of words between the United States and Greece has been building for several years. Finally, a high Greek official "is telling it like it is."

For many years the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has drawn attention to the shortcomings of U.S. policy toward Cyprus. During the Clinton administration, it has highlighted the long trail of broken promises. Greek Foreign Minister Pangalos has now done the same. The truth may hurt, but this does not make it any less the truth.

In his October 1992 campaign statement to the Greek American community, then Governor Clinton undertook to give high priority to the Cyprus and Aegean issues. He also undertook to shape his policy in accordance with the rule of law and international treaties. As the AHI has pointed out for years, the Clinton administration has done the opposite.

With regard to Cyprus, President Clinton has failed to uphold the basic American principles of the rule of law and resistance to aggression which our country upheld regarding Iraq's aggression against Kuwait.

The Clinton administration has failed to hold the military controlled government of Turkey responsible for its 24 year-long illegal occupation of over one-third of Cyprus in violation of the UN Charter, multiple Security Council resolutions, and international law; it has failed to hold Turkey accountable for its illegal assistance to the illegal and unrecognized entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus; and it has failed to condemn adequately Turkey's warlike threats against Cyprus's sovereign right of national self-defense enshrined in the UN Charter.

With regard to the Aegean, the Clinton administration has failed to support the application of international treaties, conventions, and agreements that establish beyond any legal argument the territorial disposition in the Aegean and that the Imia islets are sovereign Greek territory.

It is important to understand that the current war of words originated on the U.S. side because of the Clinton administration's Orwellian distortion of the truth when spokesman McCurry called the Cyprus problem a "conflict to be amicably resolved by both Turks and Greeks on Cyprus" and not an invasion and occupation by Turkey. On July 24 Mr. McCurry confirmed that this represented the administration's considered view when he stated that President Clinton "had no problem with the statement the counsel prepared" regarding the word "conflict."

AHI does not engage in partisan politics. We will continue to support our country's leaders and representatives when we judge them to be advancing American interests and values in this strategic region. We will also continue to criticize policies which we believe are not in the best interests of the United States.