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AHI Sends Letter to President George W. Bush for his Consideration of Issuing a Statement to the Greek American Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
July 22, 2004—No.50 (202) 785-8430

AHI Sends Letter to President George W. Bush for his Consideration of Issuing a Statement to the Greek American Communities 

WASHINGTON, DC—On July 22, 2004, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis sent a letter to President George W. Bush for his consideration of issuing a statement to the Greek American community on (1) Cyprus, (2) the Ecumenical Patriarchate, (3) Albania, and (4) the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The letter to President Bush appears below and is followed by the full text of the draft statement:

July 22, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Statement on Issues of Concern to the Greek American Community:

    1. Cyprus;
    2. Ecumenical Patriarchate;
    3. Albania; and 
    4. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Dear Mr. President:

I am enclosing a draft statement for your consideration that details several key issues of concern to the Greek American community today. Specifically, the statement discusses the following topics:

    1. ensuring a just and lasting resolution to the Cyprus conflict that applies American values and democratic standards, including the rule of law, majority rule and protection of minority and human rights;
    2. safeguarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and reopening the Halki Patriachal School of Theology;
    3. ensuring that Albania observes the rule of law and protects minority rights for its significant Greek population; and
    4. supporting a name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that does not include the word "Macedonia."

While all of the subjects mentioned are significant and relevant to the Greek American community, a paramount concern of Greek Americans is with the Cyprus conflict. Accordingly, much of the enclosed statement is devoted to discussing what U.S. policy should be on the Cyprus issue. The section on this topic urges the U.S., in its own best interests, to support modifications in the UN Annan Plan to make it fair, balanced, functional and financially viable. These modifications include:

i. support for a constitutional democracy for Cyprus;
ii. support for the full and prompt demilitarization of Cyprus;
iii. support for the prompt return to Turkey of the over 110,000 illegal Turkish settlers;
iv. the removal of the Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence; and
v. the implementation of a property recovery and compensation system as well as the protection of property rights for all Cypriots.

In our letter to you of June 21, 2004 we detailed at length the flaws in the Annan Plan. That letter is on our web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.

Background

As a presidential candidate, Governor Jimmy Carter had specifically endorsed UNGA Res. 3212, stating that: "Peace must be based on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3212 of 1 November 1974 endorsed by Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, calling among other things for the removal of all foreign military forces from Cyprus."

Carter further said that the U.S. must work "to insure the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus," that Greek Cypriot refugees should be allowed "to return to their homes," that the "United States must pursue a policy based on principle and in accord with the rule of law" and that "If I am elected president I intend to enforce and carry out the provisions of my statement." Speech by Carter in Washington, D.C. (Sept. 16, 1976). President Carter reneged on his campaign positions in the early months of his presidency.

Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan stated that President Carter had "reneged on his campaign pledges" regarding Cyprus. Candidate Reagan stated:

"The tragic situation in Cyprus has lasted six years. It must not continue. . .Cypriot refugees, be they Greek or Turkish, should be permitted to return to their homes and land. I support the full implementation of unanimously approved United Nations Resolution 3212 of November 1974 which ‘Calls upon all States to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus and to refrain from all acts and intervention directed against it; Urges the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces and foreign military presence and personnel from the Republic of Cyprus and the cessation of all foreign interference in its affairs.’" Reagan-Bush Committee news release (Sept. 26, 1980).

President Reagan did not follow through on his campaign statement.

Presidential candidate Vice President George H.W. Bush made the following statement on July 7, 1988, which we strongly urge you to support:

"We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights. . . .I want to see a democratic Cyprus free from the threat of war." (Speech, Boston, July 8, 1988.)

President Bush elevated the Cyprus issue to the White House level and thought that he had a deal among the parties. At a Paris conference in late 1991, Turkey reneged on the deal.

Presidential candidate Governor Bill Clinton issued the following statement on October 2, 1992:

"In this world of extraordinary change, it is tragic that a just solution to the Cyprus problem remains elusive. Since 1974 the northern part of Cyprus has been under Turkish military occupation. The United States has a moral obligation as well as a national security interest to see that this illegal occupation of Cyprus comes to an end.

The United States and the world community will not accept the permanent division of Cyprus. The search for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem must be vigorously pursued. Such a Cyprus settlement should be consistent with the fundamental principles of human rights and democratic norms and practices. Accordingly, a Cyprus settlement can be just and viable only if it provides for the withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces; satisfactorily accounts for all for all American and Greek Cypriots missing since 1974; provides for the rights of refugees; ensures the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of the state; and establishes a democratic constitution which respects and guarantees the rights of both communities.

I will give the Cyprus issue a high foreign policy priority in my administration and, working with the European Community and the United Nations, I will press hard for a lasting solution to the tragedy of Cyprus. Such a solution will serve not only the best interests of Cyprus, but also the best interests of our allies, Greece and Turkey, and above all the best interests of the United States."

President Clinton did not follow through on his campaign statement. At a fundraiser in 1996 he told Greek Americans, in response to a question, that he would not pressure Turkey.

Also pertinent is the Eisenhower Doctrine of applying the rule of law to friend and opponent alike. In the Suez crisis of 1956, President Eisenhower stated:

"There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends."

Eisenhower reversed the aggression by economic and political pressure without firing a shot. There should be no economic aid to Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots until Turkey removes its armed forces and settlers from Cyprus and tears down the Green Line barbed wire fence.

Also pertinent is the Bush-Gorbachev doctrine that "aggression cannot and will not pay" as set forth in their joint statement in Helsinki on September 9, 1990 regarding Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. We strongly urge you to support this policy.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please have your staff contact me.

Respectfully,

/s/Nick Larigakis
Nick Larigakis
Executive Director
American Hellenic Institute

Enclosure

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DRAFT

PREPARED BY THE AMERICAN HELLENIC INSTITUTE AND SENT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH FOR HIS CONSIDERATION OF ISSUING A STATEMENT ON ISSUES OF CONCERN TO THE GREEK AMERICAN COMMUNITY

The celebration of the return of the Olympic games to Athens in 2004 for the first time since being revived there in 1896 is a historic moment that only adds to the long and rich history of Greece. I share in the pride and joy that all Americans of Hellenic descent are feeling for this truly unifying world sporting extravaganza that serves to remind us all of humanities potential for goodness and peace.

America’s founding fathers borrowed from ancient Greece when writing our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution. They admired the fundamental ancient Greek beliefs of "Truth," "Beauty" and the "Eternal Values" as embodied in liberty, freedom and democracy. These are the cornerstones of our American values. Today, these same Greek ideals and institutions continue to guide our nation. Greek Americans have played an active role and continue to be an integral part of our great nation. Greek Americans have achieved a high level of accomplishment in education, business, medicine, law and government.

And although I can’t name them all, I do wish to mention two in government who I have had the privilege to be associated with, the esteemed five term Senator from Maryland, Paul Sarbanes, and the former Governor of my home state of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis.

Greece can play an effective role in our interests, and thus, I will look to Greece as an immensely valuable link in the region. I will do more to capitalize on Greece’s close cultural, political, and economic ties to the Mediterranean countries, Western Europe, Southeastern Europe, and the Middle East in advancing U.S. interests.

Greece is a vigorous and stable democracy with a rapidly modernizing economy. It is also the only Balkan country that can boast membership in the EU and its European Monetary Union as well as NATO. In combination, these factors make Greece a regional force for political stability and democracy-building and a sensible partner for U.S. investment and economic cooperation.

Establishing a special relationship with Greece will allow the U.S. to capitalize on Greece’s unique assets, thereby increasing the prospects for achieving our long-term goals of political stability, economic progress and democracy in Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

However, I do acknowledge that there are certain foreign policy issues that the Greek American community is very concerned with. I too am concerned. Because if we do not properly address these issues, America’s strategic and economic interests in the region of Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, have the potential to be compromised.

Many may consider these issues to be parochial. They are not. They are American issues. Because they go to the heart of what America stands for: the rule of law, majority rule and the protection of minority and human rights—as embodied in our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, the most important documents in modern world history.

CYPRUS

2004 marks the sad 30-year anniversary of the Cyprus problem. Since 1974, U.S. policy on the Cyprus problem has been a foreign policy failure. On May 1, 2004 Cyprus became a member of the European Union of families as a divided and occupied nation, its northern part being under illegal Turkish military occupation. "The United States has a moral obligation as well as a national security interest to see that this illegal occupation of Cyprus comes to an end." It is unacceptable that this issue continues to go unresolved.

Therefore, a "search for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem must be vigorously pursued." Not ill-conceived plans such as the most recent attempt made by the United Nations under the so-called Annan Plan. The plan was flawed because it was not functional or financially viable in addition to incorporating numerous elements that rewarded the aggressor, Turkey, and punished the victim, the Greek Cypriots.

U.S. policy on Cyprus, in the interests of the U.S., should apply American values and should include the following:

    • Full demilitarization of Cyprus by support of and implementation of the unanimous UNGA Res. 3212 of November 1, 1974 urging "the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces and foreign military presence and personnel from the Republic of Cyprus and the cessation of all foreign interference in its affairs," and calling "upon all states to respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity" of Cyprus;


    • Support of a constitutional democracy for Cyprus "based on majority rule, the rule of law and the protection of minority rights;"


    • Support for changes and modifications in the UN Annan Plan for Cyprus: (1) to make it fair, balanced, workable, financially viable and just; (2) to include the immediate demilitarization of Cyprus; (3) to provide for the prompt return to Turkey of the over 110,000 illegal settlers from Turkey with all costs to be borne by Turkey, the aggressor; (4) to call for the immediate tearing down by Turkey of the Green Line barbed wire fence; (5) to have a property recovery and compensation system paid for by the aggressor Turkey; and (6) to have the right of all Cypriots to buy property and live wherever they chose without being limited by ethnic quotas.

ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE

The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul is the spiritual center for more than 270 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, including approximately 5 million in the United States. In accordance with U.S. law expressed in Section 2804 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriations Bill, I will express our desire to the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel, and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.

ALBANIA

My Administration, if elected, to insure our own interest and the interest of maintaining peace and stability in the southern Balkans, will seek to undertake an intense diplomatic dialogue with the government of Albania to ensure that the rule of law is observed and minority and basic human rights are protected. The U.S must make clear that Albania must treat its minorities fairly and humanely the way it wants Albanian minorities in neighboring countries to be treated.

Although Albania successfully sought a census to measure the Albanian minority in neighboring FYROM, its government resists the demand of the European Union to measure its minorities, so it can continue to claim that the Greek minority is small when it constitutes at least 10 percent of the country's 3.5 million population.

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

A Kerry Administration will be sensitive to Greece’s concern and therefore support a name for this former Yugoslav republic that does not include the word "Macedonia." Since antiquity, the name Macedonia has referred to a geographical region, not to a nationality.

When Marshal Tito fashioned the puppet "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" from the southern Yugoslav province of Vardar-Banovina in 1945, he did so to foment disorder in northern Greece in furtherance of his plan to communize the Balkan Peninsula and gain control of the key port city of Salonica. "Macedonian" nationalism was a product of Tito's fabrications. The then U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius in a circular airgram to diplomatic officers on December 26, 1944 wrote:

"This Government considers talk of Macedonian 'nation,' Macedonian 'Fatherland,' or Macedonian 'national consciousness' to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece."

The Truman Doctrine and massive financial aid under the Marshall Plan foiled Tito’s hopes for communizing Greece.

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For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at vivian@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.