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Public Statements

Seeking a Resolution to the Dispute On Cyprus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I once again come to this Floor to urge my colleagues to support efforts to achieve a resolution to the dispute on Cyprus.
Tragically, I find myself here once again as yet another year has gone by with no end to the conflict.

While the Cyprus dispute is most directly between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, it has larger implications for regional security and prosperity. Over the past few decades this dispute has involved not only the Cypriot communities, but also Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union. Moreover, Turkey's membership to the European Union, which the United States enthusiastically supports, is unfortunately being impacted because of the impasse over Cyprus.

In 2003, it looked like we were on the cusp of a resolution when Cypriots voted on the United Nations backed Annan Plan which would have created the United Cyprus Republic, as a loose confederation of two component states--the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State.

That plan provided a strong framework for a bi-zonal, bi-communal unified Cyprus; and the U.S. House of Representatives strongly endorsed the plan by unanimously approving a Sense of the House to that effect. Regrettably, the Annan Plan did not succeed when put to a referendum.

Ultimately, the Cypriots themselves are the ones who must make the tough decisions that will ensure a peaceful future for their island. Nevertheless, I urge the administration to work with all stakeholders to ensure that a future unified Cyprus is a Cyprus that respects human rights and the fundamental freedoms for all Cypriots. Any unnatural or unnecessary artificial limitations imposed on either community are a recipe for future disaster.

Mr. Speaker, I truly believe that a lasting, fair and comprehensive solution to the conflict on Cyprus is possible. If we avoid inflammatory rhetoric and political statements and instead work in unison to bolster the efforts of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to work together in good faith for the future of all Cypriots; the future will be bright for Cyprus.

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