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Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in a letter to President Bush calls the Annan Plan "not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
March 31, 2005—No.26 (202) 785-8430

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in a letter to President Bush calls the Annan Plan "not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem."

WASHINGTON, DC—On March 12, 2005, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, in a letter to President George W. Bush states that that the Annan Plan "is not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem." She further says: "The Annan Plan in its present form is unsuitable for a successful resolution of the Cyprus problem and needs major modifications to be viable." She details the reasons why the Annan Plan is not a viable solution.

The Congresswoman also refers to "the unwarranted criticism and attacks on the Greek-Cypriots for their ‘no’ vote of 76 percent," and states that: "The public has been misled by claims that Greek-Cypriots were the ones responsible for the ultimate failure of the unification plan."

In the letter to President Bush, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen states: "Perhaps it is now time for a new approach to the issue." She urges the President "to remain engaged in efforts to resolve the conflict in Cyprus, and to continue the search for a just and lasting reunification that will promote peace and stability."

The AHI staff worked with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s staff in facilitating this course of action.

Below is the full text of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s letter.

March 12, 2005
The Honorable President George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

As you know, on April 24, 2004, the people of Cyprus voted on a United Nations settlement plan, the Annan Plan. In light of the unwarranted criticism and attacks on Greek Cypriots for their "no" vote of 76 percent, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight that the proposal is not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

As to Cyprus joining the European Union, I share the joy with families across Cyprus for their much deserving union with the European community—as the prominence of Cyprus will be augmented by its formal integration into the European Union.

Nevertheless, many have read the puzzling headlines of the recent vote for unification in Cyprus. The public has been mislead by claims that Greek-Cypriots were the ones responsible for the ultimate failure of the unification plan.

If we look closer however, we will find that Greek-Cypriots did not vote against unification, but instead, against a specific plan that was simply unacceptable to the hard-working people of Cyprus.

Some of these conditions, such as accepting the presence of Turkish troops for an indefinite time, which according to the Plan would remain in Cyprus even after Turkey’s eventual accession to the European Union, were unreasonable and, therefore, unacceptable. Further, when synthesizing the Annan Plan, we see that it would enable Turkish-Cypriots and mainland Turkish settlers to keep Greek-Cypriot homes and other property that they seized following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

They would not have to reimburse the owners of the property. Annan would require the Greek-Cypriots to be reimbursed by the federal treasury that is funded overwhelmingly by the Greek-Cypriots. In many respects the Greek-Cypriots would be reimbursing themselves.

The "no" vote must not be interpreted as a vote against reunification, but rather as a legitimate expression of the real concerns that made that particular version of the Annan Plan unacceptable to Greek Cypriot voters

The Greek Cypriots are not turning their backs on their Turkish Cypriot compatriots. On the contrary, Greek-Cypriots are working for a solution that will meet the hopes and expectations of both communities. A common future for all Cypriots within the European Union, without any third parties dictating that future is the ultimate goal.

Ultimately, a viable solution to the Cyprus problem would undoubtedly set a great example for the area. Perhaps it is now time for a new approach to the issue. The Annan Plan in its present form is unsuitable for a successful resolution of the Cyprus problem and needs major modifications to be viable. I therefore urge you to remain engaged in efforts to resolve the conflict in Cyprus, and to continue the search for a just and lasting reunification that will promote peace and stability.

Sincerely,

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

IRL/fr

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.