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Greek American Membership Organizations’ 2006 Statement on Legislative Priorities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
May 5, 2006—No. 41 (202) 785-8430

Greek American Membership Organizations’ 2006 Statement on Legislative Priorities

WASHINGTON, DC—American Hellenic Institute president Gene Rossides announced today that the major Greek American membership organizations endorsed the 2006 statement on Legislative Priorities. Prepared by the American Hellenic Institute, it is part of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements. The major membership organizations are: the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, the PanCretan Association of America, the Pan-Pontian Federation of U.S.A. and Canada and the American Hellenic Institute. The endorsed statement follows:

Legislative Priorities

To give legislative effect to the policies set forth in the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements, we will work with the Congress to pass:

  • H. R. 857, the bipartisan American Owned Property In Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, introduced on February 16, 2005 by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) with eleven co-sponsors. H. R. 857 authorizes lawsuits to seek financial remedies in U.S. district courts by U.S. citizens against the Turkish government and private persons for actions damaging U.S. citizens. There are currently 30 co-sponsors.
  • H. Con. Res. 137 regarding the Aegean Sea boundary. It expresses the sense of the Congress
    that—
  1. the water boundaries established in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Peace, the 1932 Convention and Protocol Between Italy and Turkey, and the 1947 Paris Treaty of Peace, under which the Dodecanese islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece, are the borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea; and
  2. any party, including Turkey, objecting to these established boundaries should seek redress in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Con. Res. 137 was introduced by Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) on April 21, 2005 with four co-sponsors: Michael Bilirakis (R-FL); Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY); James P. McGovern (D-MA); and Diane E. Watson (D-CA) and was referred to the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe. There are currently 27 co-sponsors.

  • legislation linking continued good U.S. relations with Turkey with a viable and workable settlement of the Cyprus issue based on Western democratic norms and UN resolutions, recognition by Turkey of the existing maritime boundary in the Aegean Sea, substantial improvement in Turkey's human rights and religious freedom record and the reopening of the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology illegally closed in 1971. Such legislation should incorporate economic sanctions, a halt to assistance of any kind, and the withdrawal of any economic benefits if Turkey does not cooperate.
  • legislation calling for a critical review of U.S. policy toward Turkey.
  • legislation enforcing the provisions of S.1067, “The Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers Act,” and H.R 1757, “The European Security Act,” as they apply to arms transfers to Turkey, and ensuring that no arms transfers take place so long as Turkey fails to meet fully the seven human rights conditions set forth by the State Department and continues to violate U.S. and international law, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty, the 1949 Geneva Convention, and relevant treaties and agreements with specific reference to Greece and Cyprus. The provisions of S. 1067 would condition arms exports on minimum standards of conduct, basic respect for human rights, non- aggression and participation in the UN Register of Conventional Arms.
  • legislation regarding FYROM

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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.