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Legislation Introduced Regarding the Maritime Borders Between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
April 18, 2003 No. 20 (202) 785-8430

Legislation Introduced Regarding the Maritime Borders Between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) recently introduced H.Con.Res.87, "Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding Turkey's claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea." The Resolution establishes that:

" the water boundaries established in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Peace, the 1932 Convention and Protocol Between Italy and Turkey, and the 1947 Paris Treaty of Peace, under which the Dodecanese islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece, are the borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea; and any party, including Turkey, objecting to these established boundaries should seek redress in the International Court of Justice at The Hague."

H.Con.Res.87 expresses the view of the House of Representatives that the boundaries between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean have been established once and for all and that islands and islets on the Greek side, including the islets of Imia, are the sovereign territory of Greece.

Original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res.87 are Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA).

H.Con.Res.87 incorporates language initiated by AHI and first introduced November 7, 1997 by Rep. Michael Pappas (R-NJ) in the 105th Congress. It also incorporates language from Amendment 19 to H.R. 2415 introduced by Rep. Andrews and passed by the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote on July 21, 1999.

Regarding the resolution, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis stated:
"AHI commends Rep. Andrews for introducing this resolution. It reaffirms the core American interest in the rule of law. AHI thanks the current co-sponsors and urges all members of Congress to co-sponsor and support H.Con.Res.87."

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or chrysoula@ahiworld.org. For general information on AHI, please visit our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.

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The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and its affiliate organizations, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF), and the AHI Business Network, a division of the AHI, are working together under one roof, to provide a joint program for strengthening United States relations with Greece and Cyprus and within the American Hellenic community.

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. CON. RES. 87
Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding Turkey's claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 11, 2003

Mr. ANDREWS (for himself, Mr. MCGOVERN, and Mr. BILIRAKIS) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding Turkey's claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea.

Whereas the maritime borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea have been delimited in international law as having been agreed, established, and settled;

Whereas Turkey is claiming sovereignty over numerous islands and islets and unspecified `gray areas' in the Aegean Sea;

Whereas in article 15 of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey and Other Instruments, done at Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 24, 1923, Turkey renounced, in favor of Italy, all right, title, and interest in the 12 enumerated islands in the Dodecanese region that were occupied by Italy at the time of the Treaty, including the island of Calimnos and the islets dependent on such islands;

Whereas the Convention Between Italy and Turkey for the Delimitation of the Territorial Waters Between the Coasts of Anatolia and the Island of Castellorizo, done at Ankara, Turkey, on January 4, 1932, established the rights of Italy and Turkey in coastal islands, waters, and rocks in the Aegean Sea and delimited a maritime frontier between the two countries;

Whereas a protocol done at Ankara, Turkey, on December 28, 1932, and annexed to the 1932 Convention memorialized an agreement on a water boundary between Italy and Turkey, which placed the Imia islets under the sovereignty of Italy;

Whereas in article 14 of the 1947 Paris Treaty of Peace with Italy, Italy ceded to Greece the Dodecanese islands under Italy's control, including the island of Calimnos and the adjacent islets of Imia;

Whereas the United States is a signatory to the 1947 Paris Treaty of Peace and all articles therein are a part of the law of the United States;

Whereas because the United States is party to treaty regimes that establish water boundaries, most notably the Convention Ceding Alaska, done at Washington, District of Columbia, on March 30, 1867, which established the water boundary between Alaska and Russia, the United States has an interest in maintaining and perpetuating such regimes as a matter of international law;

Whereas by resolution dated February 15, 1996, the European Parliament resolved that the water boundaries established in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Peace and the 1932 Convention and Protocol Between Italy and Turkey are the borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea;

Whereas Turkish Government claims on Aegean islands within Greek sovereign territory contravene these treaties, convention, and protocol;

Whereas a fundamental principle of international law is that, once agreed, a boundary remains stable and predictable;

Whereas the eastern Mediterranean region, in which the Aegean Sea is located, is a region of vital strategic importance to the United States;

Whereas both Greece and Turkey are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and allies of the United States; and

Whereas it is in the interest of the United States and other nations to resolve disputes peacefully: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that—

1. the water boundaries established in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Peace, the 1932 Convention and Protocol Between Italy and Turkey, and the 1947 Paris Treaty of Peace, under which the Dodecanese islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece, are the borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea; and

2. any party, including Turkey, objecting to these established boundaries should seek redress in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.