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Congressional Hellenic Caucus Chairs, Reps. Bilirakis and Maloney, Express Concern to Powell Over Recent Actions Toward Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
November 23, 2004—No.74 (202) 785-8430

Congressional Hellenic Caucus Chairs, Reps. Bilirakis and Maloney, Express Concern to Powell Over Recent Actions Toward Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC—The founders and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Reps. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing their concerns about certain actions toward the Republic of Cyprus and seeking clarification about the possible impacts on overall U.S. policy.

In their letter, Bilirakis and Maloney cite three specific actions taken by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which could indicate a change in the United States' longstanding policy of non-recognition of the occupied, northern part of the island.

  • First, a reprogramming notice from USAID to Congress indicated that it would provide support to institutions including the Ministry of Finance which is not recognized by the United States.  Additionally, the notice failed to detail any safeguards to ensure that U.S. funds do not inadvertently support businesses using illegally occupied properties. 

  • Second, the Federal Aviation Administration is exploring ways to designate areas in the northern, occupied territory as open for civil aviation, a divergence in U.S. policy of abiding by international obligations and UN Security Council resolutions. 

  • Finally, the State Department has revised its longstanding policy for allocating scholarships for Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot students on a roughly equal basis by changing the allocations to 57 percent for Turkish-Cypriot students and 43 percent for Greek-Cypriot students.

"I am deeply concerned with this potential shift in policy by the State Department and USAID toward the Republic of Cyprus," Maloney said.  "We should not be deviating from our policy of non-recognition of the northern part of the island, which has been occupied illegally for thirty years.  I urge Secretary Powell to clarify that these actions do not represent a move toward recognizing the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'."

"I was alarmed by certain actions taken by the State Department and USAID involving the Republic of Cyprus which seemed to imply a shift in long-standing US policy of non-recognition of the northern occupied part of Cyprus," Bilirakis said.  "As I mentioned in the letter, any implementation of these actions would be detrimental to our efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.  I felt it necessary to express my concerns during the decision-making process and urge their serious consideration."

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For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.