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Congressman Michael Bilirakis Introduces Legislation Expressing U.S. Support For Cyprus' Entry To The European Union
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
June 20, 2001 No. 34/01 (202) 785-8430

Congressman Michael Bilirakis Introduces Legislation Expressing U.S. Support For Cyprus' Entry To The European Union

On June 19, 2001, Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and 43 original co-sponsors introduced H.Con.Res.164, which expresses U.S. support for Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU). At its December 10, 1999 meeting, the European Union adopted a framework for the next round of EU enlargement, and the subsequent Helsinki Declaration stipulated that a settlement of the Cyprus problem would not be a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

The House resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that "the accession of Cyprus to the European Union would act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem without the latter being a precondition for accession," and further urges that "membership of Cyprus to the European Union be strongly supported."

Notwithstanding the intransigence of the Turkish leadership and polemical statements, most recently by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem, who threatened that the Turkish response to Cyprus' accession "would have no limits," the EU has placed Cyprus on the fast track to accession. The House resolution is a strong and unequivocal reminder to the Turkish government and to the Turkish Cypriot leadership that Cyprus' accession to the EU will not be held hostage by the common Turkish tactics of intimidation and obduracy.

The American Hellenic Institute strongly supports the House resolution, and AHI founder and General Counsel Gene Rossides stated: "Cyprus' accession to the EU is in the best interests of the U.S. We at the AHI commend Rep. Bilirakis and his co-sponsors for endorsing a U.S. position on Cyprus' accession to the EU. H.Con.Res.164 reminds us of how Cyprus' accession to the EU will help promote U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and will foster peace and stability throughout the region."

For any additional information regarding this press release or the organization, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or[email protected], and visit our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.