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AHI Letter To House Ways & Means Committee Voices Concern Over H.R. 5002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
October 1, 2002 No. 47/02 (202) 785-8430

AHI Letter To House Ways & Means Committee Voices Concern Over H.R. 5002

WASHINGTON, DC -- On September 25, 2002, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) sent a letter to Representative William M. Thomas (R-CA), Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, protesting H.R. 5002. This proposed legislation aims to amend the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act of 1985 to designate Israel and Turkey as qualifying industrial zones, granting duty-free treatment to articles imported into the United States from such countries due to similar duty-free treatment provided to articles imported by those countries.

According to AHI's letter, "We are fundamentally opposed to our government rewarding Turkey with increased market access, at the cost of American jobs, at the same time that Turkey maintains its military occupation of Cyprus. Such a move would run counter to American values and undermine our long-standing efforts to promote peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean."

AHI's letter points out that, "despite calls from President Bush for a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem, the Turkish government has steadfastly refused to remove its military forces and blocked every attempt at a negotiated solution." The letter also asserts that adoption of this legislation without meaningfully addressing the illegal Turkish occupation of Cyprus "would amount to turning a blind eye to a blatant and ongoing violation of international law. Such an action would embolden Turkey to continue standing in the way of the peace process, and contribute to the further institutionalization of the occupation."

AHI states its strong opposition especially to H.R. 5002 being railroaded through a miscellaneous trade bill, suggesting instead that "it should be the subject of the normal committee procedure of hearings, expert testimony, and mark-ups. In this process, the clear requirement should be placed upon Turkey to remove its troops from Cyprus and require Mr. Rauf Denktash to negotiate in good faith on a Cyprus solution before Turkey is allowed to benefit from increased access to American markets."

A complete copy of AHI's letter to the House Ways & Means Committee Chairman opposing H.R. 5002 is attached (click here). For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.