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AHI President Gene Rossides Appeared on Voice of America’s NewsLine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
April 28, 2004—No.35 (202) 785-8430

AHI President Gene Rossides Appeared on Voice of America’s NewsLine

WASHINGTON, DC—On April 23, 2004, AHI President, Gene Rossides, appeared on Voice of America’s NewsLine, a television news program with host David Borgida. An audio clip of the broadcast is available at Mr. Rossides on Cyprus Reunification [Stream] (RealAudio). The full text of the transcript follows:

Cyprus Expert Details Upcoming Reunification Vote, 4-23-04

April 23, 2004

This weekend, Greek and Turkish Cypriot voters decide whether they will become one nation or if they will continue as separate entities. Eugene T. Rossides, Founder and President of the American Hellenic Institute, discusses the Cyprus referendum.

MR. BORGIDA
And now joining us to discuss this, Eugene Rossides, Founder and President of the American Hellenic Institute. He has been involved in this issue for many, many years. Thanks for being our guest on NewsLine. We appreciate it.

MR. ROSSIDES
I appreciate being asked, David.

MR. BORGIDA
A lot at stake on the divided island. If you could just help our viewers understand internally, on the island itself, what's at stake for voters.

MR. ROSSIDES
Well, what's at stake is really the future of that island and the future of each of the communities, the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community. And the vote tomorrow will be an historic vote on the Annan plan.

MR. BORGIDA
On the UN plan.

MR. ROSSIDES
On the UN Annan plan, which has been proposed as a settlement, after a series of negotiations. This is the fifth Annan plan, which was March 31 of 2004, and was rejected by the Greek Cypriots and accepted by the Turkish Cypriots. And that plan goes to a referenda tomorrow.

MR. BORGIDA
As far as we know, it is not looking good. It appears that it will be rejected, correct?

MR. ROSSIDES
Yes, it looks as though it will be rejected by the Greek Cypriots, and I hope it is rejected by the Greek Cypriots. Because, frankly, David, the Annan plan is not in the best interests of the United States. It's not in the best interests of the Greek Cypriots, nor of the E.U. And in my judgment, it's not in the best interests of the Turkish Cypriots.

MR. BORGIDA
Explain why, please.

MR. ROSSIDES
Let me give you an example of why. The plan is an undemocratic plan. It has an 18 percent minority having veto powers over the majority, the 80 percent majority, whereas in Afghanistan the U.S. supports majority rule. It is financially not viable. It's going to cost many billions of dollars, not hundreds of millions. And where is the money coming from? This plan actually asks the Greek Cypriots to pay for their own losses that were incurred by the Turkish invasion regarding their property. In other words, the property owners, only one-third can go back. The other two-thirds have to get compensation. In both situations, the payment, nine-tenths of the payment, for that comes from the Greek Cypriot taxpayers.

MR. BORGIDA
Those who, though, support it, sir, say it's time to move on; it may not be perfect, but let's move on. This just continues the cycle of division if it is not approved. What do you say to that?

MR. ROSSIDES
Oh, I could say a lot of things to it.

MR. BORGIDA
This is a family television program.

MR. ROSSIDES
Yes.

(Laughter.)

MR. ROSSIDES
The answer is that's nonsense. This is being pushed and maneuvered by a handful in the administration who have said, whatever Turkey wants, we're going to give them. After the March 31 Annan plan, Turkish officials said, "[w]e got everything we wanted, it's that simple, the Greeks lost." It is an unfair plan. It does not help the U.S. It will not bring peace and stability to the island. It hardens ethnic division. It perpetuates it.

Can you imagine a plan that keeps Turkish troops on an independent country, Cyprus, after Cyprus joins the E.U. on May 1? How can you have that? And those troops have the right of intervention. This is in this plan.

The basic argument that I would say against the plan is that it subverts and blatantly damages the rule of law in international affairs.

MR. BORGIDA
And how would you amend the Annan plan that would make it more to your liking, sir?

MR. ROSSIDES
Well, I think that in the interest of the U.S., the plan should provide for the following: majority rule, full protection of minority rights and the rule of law, as was proposed by President Bush 41 back in 1989. Number two, all refugees should be allowed to go back to their property, just as they were in Kosovo. Why not? And the lion's share of the payment has to come from the aggressor Turkey. This plan rewards an aggressor and punishes the Greek Cypriot victims.

MR. BORGIDA
The views of Eugene Rossides, Founder and President of the American Hellenic Institute. And as VOA continues with NewsLine for next week, we will continue to cover this story and present all the views on both sides of the issue.

Thank you so much, Mr. Rossides, for being our guest on NewsLine. We appreciate it.

MR. ROSSIDES
Thank you. I appreciate very much being here.

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For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information on AHI, see our Web site at www.ahiworld.org.