Madam Speaker, I rise today to call on the Obama administration to support efforts to bring about a negotiated resolution of the Cyprus conflict and reunification of the country as a federal bi-zonal, bi-communal, with a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship. This formula is based on several UN Security Council resolutions and serves as the basis for ongoing talks between Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Talat.
As my colleagues know, the road to a final settlement over the past few decades has been fraught with difficulty. Numerous earlier diplomatic initiatives were launched, but in the end failed. Ultimately, a negotiated resolution of the conflict must be by the Cypriots, for the Cypriots and one that enjoys the support of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike. There is a strong desire by younger generations from both communities to experience the rebirth of a Cyprus where the rights of all are respected and all can participate in the national life of their country.
As a member of both the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans, I am gratified that the leaders of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities have stated their mutual commitment to work towards a final settlement, and have continued their discussions accordingly. While the administration is currently observing developments and has offered its support if called upon by both communities. It is my hope that it will seize this opportunity to offer and make the resolution of the Cyprus issue a priority. At a time when so many of the world’s disputes seem intractable, I believe the Cyprus dispute is one area where, working together, we can truly bring hope and change to a place and people that have longed for it for decades.
Madam Speaker, I hope the United States can play a supportive and active role in making a final settlement possible and encourage others to do likewise. Meanwhile, as President Christofias and Mr. Talat and their teams grapple with an array of tough issues it is my hope they seek to overcome the legacy of the past 35 years and build a brighter future for all Cypriots.