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AHIPAC Submits Testimony To Democratic And Republican National Platform Committees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
July 24, 2000 No. 40/00 (202) 785-8430

AHIPAC Submits Testimony To Democratic And Republican National Platform Committees

On July 24, 2000 Nicholas E. Chimicles, Esq., Chairman, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), submitted testimony to the Democratic and Republican National Platform Committees. The testimony (the full text of which may be found on the AHI Web site here) was also submitted on behalf of The Hellenic American National Council (HANC) and The Hellenic American Women's Council (HAWC).

The testimony identified three areas of prime interest for inclusion in the parties' platform statements:

  1. The development of a special relationship with Greece as the key nation for stability and prosperity in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean;
  2. A commitment to giving a high priority to reaching a settlement of the Cyprus problem in accordance with democratic norms and existing UN Security Council resolutions; and
  3. A commitment to a review of U.S. policy toward Turkey.

With reference to Greece, the testimony highlighted Greece's status as the only regional state that is a member of both the European Union and NATO. As such, Greece is the strategic and economic key for the U.S. in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean to bring peace, stability, economic progress and democracy to the region.

The testimony commended Cyprus' negotiations with the EU and its constructive approach to the UN-sponsored 'proximity' talks now in progress. Cyprus has established itself as a regional center of international business and finance. The testimony advocated a Cyprus settlement based on fundamental American values of majority rule, the rule of law and protection of minority and human rights is in the best interests of the U.S.

In regard to Turkey, the testimony welcomed positive developments in relations with Greece, but faulted Turkey as a negative factor in Southeast European and Eastern Mediterranean affairs. It has failed to submit its unilateral territorial claims against Greek sovereign territory in the Aegean to binding international arbitration; it continues to block progress on Cyprus; and, as the 1999 State Department Human Rights Country report on Turkey makes clear, it continues its gruesome record of domestic human rights abuses; it has done nothing to adhere to the accession requirements established by the European Union in December 1999.

The testimony urges that both parties include a commitment in their platforms to undertake a far-reaching and critical review of existing policy toward Turkey.