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AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis Submits on behalf of the American Hellenic Institute on the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations Bill Submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs March 20, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
March 21, 2008—No. 17 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis Submits on behalf of the American Hellenic Institute on the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations Bill Submitted to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs March 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC—On March 20, 2008, the American Hellenic Institute’s Executive Director Nick Larigakis submitted testimony on behalf of AHI before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Related Programs.

In the best interests of the United States, AHI opposes all assistance programs to Turkey that may be in the bill because they are not conditioned on Turkey meeting the following conditions:

In the interests of the United States we oppose the:

  1. $15 million in military assistance the administration has requested for Turkey;
  2. $23.3 million the administration has requested for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM);
  3. Reduction in the aid levels for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus from $6.4 million in FY 2008 down to $4.5 million for FY 2009; and
  4. Elimination of funding for the VOA Greek Service.

In the interests of the United States we support the:

  1. $11 million for Cyprus as long as it is tied exclusively to bi-communal projects of the island as mandated by U.S. law which states that U.S. funds support only “measures aimed at reunification.”

AHI opposes the $15 million for Cyprus as not in the best interests of the U.S. because it is not tied exclusively to joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot communal projects. The project services proposed do not serve the U.S. objective for reunification, on the contrary, some of these projects upgrade the illegal regime in the north, thereby furthering the division of the island.

In addition, AHI is opposed to the request for $23.3 million that the administration requested for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as not in the best interests of the United States “since it is not tied in to FYROM’s commitment to negotiate with Greece to find a solution to the continuing unresolved issue between Greece and FYROM over the name of the latter,” said Larigakis.

AHI would support the $11 million aid for Cyprus if there is a full transparency and accountability in the use of the aid and the allocation of the funds is for joint communal projects.

In addition, the testimony opposes the administration’s request to zero out the UN peace keeping forces based on the assumption that they will not be needed. “The illegal occupation by Turkish troops is a reality and the Turkish troops have increased. The Turkish occupied area of 37.3 percent of Cyprus, is one of the most heavily militarized areas in the world with the presence of more than 43,000 illegal Turkish occupation troops. As long as there are Turkish troops on the island and it remains divided, it is important to maintain a UN peace keeping force,” stated Larigakis.

Please find the full text of the testimony on the PDF file attached.

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For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis 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.