Athens News Agency - July 20, 1999

Headed by Archbishop Spyridon,

Greek Lobby Protests on Cyprus Issue

By Justine Frangouli

On the tragic anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greek American organizations led by Archbishop Spyridon of America sent a letter of protest to US President Bill Clinton urging him to intervene in order to achieve an immediate and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

The letter, jointly signed by the Hellenic American Leaders and Organizations (HALO) and Archbishop Spyridon, points out that the illegal occupation of 37% of Cyprus has been going on for 25 years, and that 200,000 refugees have been driven from their ancestral homes, while human rights continue to be flagrantly violated.

The letter reminds the President that after NATO's intervention in Kosovo, the Cyprus issue should no longer be marginalized, but that the time has come for the United States and the international community to take an initiative for its solution.

"A just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem will restore peace and security to the fragile region of the Eastern Mediterranean, and will contribute to an improvement in the relations between NATO allies Greece and Turkey," the signatories pointed out.

The Greek American leaders, headed by the Primate of the Church in America, called directly upon President Clinton to personally advance the solution to the Cyprus issue. They noted that "the parameters for a solution to the Cyprus problem have already been provided by the United Nations resolutions and the Agreements of 1977 and 1979. The position of the Government of Cyprus, as it has often been presented, is that the solution to be found should ensure the harmonious co-existence of all Cypriots in a bi-communal bizonal federation with the guarantee that an international military force will be present. This presence will ensure the implementation of the agreement and will meet all the concerns of the island's residents. The Government of Cyprus has committed itself to meeting the cost of such a force by employing the funds which will result from the demilitarization of Cyprus."

In conclusion, the representatives of the Greek-American community stressed that it is up to President Clinton himself to put an end to the tragic division of Cyprus, so that the peoples of the island can have a better and brighter future. This would serve as an example to the whole world and put across the message that it is possible, even today, for the principles of national and religious freedom, of multiculturalism, of democracy and of respect for human rights to prevail on this earth.

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων - July 20, 1999 ]