In Continued Support of The Republic of Cyprus -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 28, 2004)
HON. ROBERT E. ANDREWS
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2004
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my continued support for the Republic of Cyprus, and to urge the Administration and the international community to continue working towards an agreeable solution to the division of the island.
While it is certainly disappointing that the UN brokered negotiations on reunification were not successful, it is important that the responsibility for this lack of success not be placed squarely on one party. It was determined by the Greek-Cypriot community that the final version of the Annan plan was not an acceptable solution to the division of the island, and they therefore chose to reject the plan through the democratic process. The Greek-Cypriots have made it clear that while they did have objections to the plan that was presented through the referendum, they are still very much in favor of reunification. Given the expressed willingness of both sides to work towards an agreeable solution to the division of the island, it would be a mistake for the international community to abandon these efforts.
The final version of the Annan plan, which was brought before both Cypriot communities for a referendum, was not in the best interest
of the Greek-Cypriot citizenry. The plan placed severe restrictions on the number of Greek-Cypriot refugees that would be permitted to return to the North, restricted property rights for the Greek-Cypriots in the North, and would have required that the Greek-Cypriots essentially compensate themselves for the properties they lost as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974. While the plan did significantly reduce the number of Turkish troops on the island, it did not provide for full demilitarization. In essence, this plan did more to solidify the status quo on the island than it did to unify the two communities.
As Cyprus prepares to officially enter the European Union next month, I urge my colleagues to voice their support for full, meaningful membership within the EU for our Cypriot allies, as well as continued efforts towards an equitable reunification of the island.