American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 

2017golf illustration

Facebook Image
Statement of General Counsel Eugene T. Rossides with Regard to Cyprus Government Decision to Cancel the S-300 Acquisition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MMCONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
December 30, 1998 MMNo. 53/98 (202) 785-8430

STATEMENT OF GENERAL COUNSEL EUGENE T. ROSSIDES WITH REGARD TO CYPRUS GOVERNMENT DECISION TO CANCEL THE S-300 ACQUISITION

On December 29, 1998, the Government of Cyprus announced its decision to cancel its proposed acquisition of the S-300 air defense system. Throughout the negotiation process for this system, the American Hellenic Institute defended the sovereign right of Cyprus to acquire defensive weapons. We deplored what we regarded as illegitimate pressure on Cyprus by the Clinton Administration to cancel this purchase. In January 1997 the State Department initiated the attack on the proposed purchase after refusing to sell Cyprus an equivalent US system. Its heavy handed approach over the past two years has amounted to diplomatic arrogance and intimidation.

The Administration's approach to this issue has betrayed a characteristic pro-Turkish bias. Instead of concentrating on the central issue of the Cyprus problem, specifically Turkey's illegal invasion and occupation of part of an independent UN member state, the Administration has drawn a moral equivalence between the aggressor Turkey and the victim Cyprus.

The Administration's approach, led by the State and Defense Departments, is contrary to the fundamental American values of respect for the rule of law and resistance to aggression. This approach is also doomed to failure. So long as the military-controlled government of Turkey sees that the US Administration is in effect legitimating its illegal acts and backing Turkish demands without any compensating Turkish concession, the prospects for a settlement will be zero. The AHI calls upon the Administration to abandon this approach as contrary to American interests.

Now that the S-300 issue has been removed as a source of pressure on Cyprus, the Administration must take immediate steps to accelerate the search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Administration must at long last confront the real issues, namely Turkey's unwillingness to comply with international law as expressed in successive UN resolutions since 1974.

The Administration must now require that Turkey:
1. immediately withdraw all its illegal occupation troops from Cyprus, as called for in the 1992 campaign statement of then Governor Clinton, and support the demilitarization of Cyprus;
2. immediately commit itself to a settlement of the Cyprus problem in accordance with the 'fundamental principles of human rights and democratic norms and practices' as called for in the 1992 campaign statement of then Governor Clinton and as outlined in resolutions of the UN Security Council;
3. cease all efforts to interfere with Cyprus' accession negotiations with the European Union;
4. stop all measures to integrate the occupied areas of Cyprus with Turkey;
5. abandon its demand for recognition of the occupied areas as a sovereign state