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Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation—the American Owned Property In Occupied Cyprus Claims Act; Thanks AHI for "invaluable contribution" regarding this legislation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
February 17, 2005—No. 12 (202) 785-8430

Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation—the American Owned Property In Occupied Cyprus Claims Act; Thanks AHI for "invaluable contribution" regarding this legislation.

WASHINGTON, DC—On February 16, 2005, Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) reintroduced bipartisan legislation—the American Owned Property In Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, H.R. 5071.

Congressman Pallone’s office stated: "He worked with Nick Larigakis, Executive Director of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), and Nick Karambelas, volunteer counsel of AHI, for several months to draft the legislation, and he thanks them for their invaluable contribution."

Joining Representative Pallone as original co-sponsors are Representatives Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NJ), the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and also Representatives Ken Calvert (R-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), James McGovern (D-MA) and Michael McNulty (D-NJ).

This bill was first initiated in September of 2004 and will enable U.S. citizens who own property in the Turkish occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus to seek financial remedies with either the current inhabitants of their land or the Turkish government.

Since the 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, the property of Greek Cypriots and American nationals in northern occupied Cyprus was illegally taken, occupied and used by the Turkish authorities and individuals. This bill will allow American nationals to seek financial remedies regarding their property through the following three methods:

  1. The bill authorizes the President to initiate a claims program under which the claims of U.S. nationals who Turkey has excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus can be judged by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) and compensated through government-to-government negotiations between the United States and Turkey.

  2. The bill empowers the United States district courts to hear causes of action asserted by U.S. nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against private persons or entities that occupy or use the property of U.S. nationals in occupied Cyprus.

  3. The bill empowers the United States district courts to hear causes of action asserted by U.S. nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against Turkey without having to assert those causes of action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 as amended.

"AHI congratulates Representative Pallone for reintroducing this very important legislation and we look forward to working very closely with Congressman Pallone and his fine staff in gathering support for this bill," said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.

Attached please find Congressman Pallone’s full press release.