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AHI Statement on Comments Made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice While in Athens
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
May 2, 2006—No. 40 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement on Comments Made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice While in Athens

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) viewed with extreme disappointment the recent comments made by Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice during her recent visit to Athens on April 25, 2006, with regard to Cyprus.

While Dr. Rice did say, “We do believe that there needs to be goodwill and effort by Turkey” (to resolve the Cyprus issue), she was quick to add “but there also needs to be goodwill and effort by Cyprus. Because at the time that Cyprus, as a still-divided island, acceded to the European Union, I think there was an understanding that Cyprus would do nothing to—certainly do nothing to block Turkey’s accession and indeed would work actively if the European Union decided that Turkey should accede, to see that take place.”

Furthermore, Dr. Rice added “…Cyprus…to do what it can to ease the isolation of northern Cyprus and act responsibly in trying to complete the elements that would lead to Turkey’s accession, which (we) consider to be very important.”

By these comments, Dr. Rice has once again attempted to reverse the role of the victim, the Greek Cypriots, and the aggressor, Turkey by seeming to absolve Turkey of its numerous violations of international law for the purpose of easing Turkey’s path towards E.U. accession.

Has Dr. Rice failed to realize that Turkey, an aspiring E.U. candidate state, continues to refuse to recognize an E.U. member state, the Republic of Cyprus, and also continues to illegally maintain an occupying military force, effectively dividing the island?

As to the so called Turkish Cypriot “isolation,” that can be removed overnight by asking Turkey to remove:

  • the over 40,000 illegal Turkish occupations troops;
  • the 120,000 illegal Turkish settlers; and
  • the Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence.

Although U.S. policy professes to be an “honest broker” on the Cyprus issue, Rice’s comments fuel speculation to the contrary, because it gives a portrayal of not being interested in solving the Cyprus issue in a viable and just manner that is equitable to both sides. A just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem would undoubtedly set a great example for the region. If comments of this nature continue to be forthcoming, they will only serve to exacerbate the problem and make finding a fair and lasting solution more difficult.

The Cyprus government has stated repeatedly that it is committed to the solution of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignty and international personality. This should be the position that the Dr. Rice should be endorsing, incorporating the norms of constitutional democracy embracing the key American principles of majority rule, the rule of law and protection of minority rights, the EU acquis communautaire, UN resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and other European Courts.

Finally, the AHI commends Dr. Rice for praising Greece for being “a very active and constructive partner” in the Balkans and has a role to play in “continuing the process of democratization” in the region.

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