ROBERT E. ANDREWS (D-NJ)
JULY 22, 2008
- Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the people of Cyprus who have experienced an illegal occupation that has divided their nation for the last 34 years. On July 20, 1974, an unlawful Turkish invasion created a division between the northern and southern parts of the island. This division still exists today despite the best efforts of the United Nations to broker a solution. However, I am encouraged by recent events that the reunification of Cyprus is now a real possibility.
- The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was followed by widespread condemnation in the international community. The invasion and occupation drove nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Sadly, about 5,000 Cypriots were killed in the attack and 1,400 Greek Cypriots remain missing and unaccounted for. Nearly a decade after the attack, Turkey advanced a "unilateral declaration of independence'' in the northern area of the island occupied by the Turkish military. In response, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 541, which denounced the claim of an independent state and called for the withdrawal of the declaration.
- I am greatly encouraged by the progress currently being accomplished in Cyprus. At his inauguration this February, incoming Cypriot President Demetris Christofias announced that solving the Cyprus problem is going to be the first priority of his government. In response, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mehmet Ali Talat, said that a solution in Cyprus is possible by the end of 2008.
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- The current state of affairs in Cyprus presents an opportunity for the United States to show leadership by working together with the
UN and Cyprus to facilitate a peace process. It will take the cooperation of the international community to bring the stalemate to an acceptable conclusion.
- I applaud the leadership of President Christofias and his determination to reunify the country of Cyprus. The people of Cyprus have waited a long 34 years for peace and justice. They deserve the help of the United States and the international community in their endeavor.