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AHI Sends Policy Letter to President Clinton



March 9, 1998 No. 13/98


Following discussions at the American Hellenic Institute Board meeting and annual dinner on February 21, 1998, AHI today sent a policy letter to President Clinton setting out its perspectives on U.S. policy in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. A copy is attached.

The letter conveys a strong sense of opportunity. In both Greece and Cyprus there are vigorous democracies drawing on a broad-based political consensus about the national agenda. The result is that in Athens and Nicosia sensible, moderate governments are combining with business and civic leaders to pursue policies designed to lower regional tensions, consolidate stability, foster regional development, and to reach out to their neighbors. AHI hopes that the Administration will make the most of this constructive spirit on the Greek and Cypriot sides and increase American participation in the region's political and commercial revitalization.

For this to happen, AHI advocates a change in U.S. policy toward Turkey. AHI urges that U.S. policy toward Turkey should give less weight to the views of the Turkish general staff and more to the more open-minded and forward-thinking elements within Turkish opinion.

To maximize the benefits to U.S. interests in the region, AHI calls on the Administration to take four specific steps:

1) A reiteration of the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign statement that "the United States has a moral obligation as well as a national security interest to see that the illegal occupation of Cyprus comes to an end" and that a Cyprus settlement must ensure the "sovereign independence and territorial integrity of the state" based on a "democratic constitution which respects and guarantees the rights of both communities."

2) A call for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus and the establishment of a multinational force to ensure the security of both communities in Cyprus as set forth in H.Con.Res. 81 and S.Con.Res. 41 passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate in July 1997.

3) A clear statement that the U.S. accepts that the overall territorial disposition in the Aegean has been long settled by a series of international treaties, that the islets of Imia are sovereign Greek territory, and that the U.S. rejects any claims that there are "gray areas" in the Aegean.

4) A clear statement that the U.S. expects that any state aspiring to join the European Union or to participate as an associate in any of its institutions should unconditionally abide by the EU's principles and that the U.S. will not urge the EU to accept as a member or grant any benefit to a state that is in violation of these principles.