The Greek-American Community reacted strongly to reports for a possible meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. Eleven leaders of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) in a letter sent to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden issued a strong warning, pointing out that certain US administration officials are considering actions that are on the verge of extending the Bush Administration doctrine even further by establishing a Cyprus policy that contradicts the clearly articulated views on the issue by both the US President and the Vice President.
The Greek-American leaders call on President Obama and Vice President Biden to intervene.
The letter reads:
“Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden:
It has come to our attention that certain officials in your Administration are considering actions that are on the verge of extending the Bush Administration doctrine even further by establishing a Cyprus policy that contradicts both of your clearly articulated views on the issue. Please intervene before they cause America problems that will take years to correct.
Your Administration has not yet held high level contacts with either the President or the Foreign Minister of Cyprus. Thus, we are shocked to learn from a statement by the Turkish Cypriot spokesman in Cyprus that they are now on the verge of establishing this Administration’s de facto recognition of an illegal entity in Cyprus’ militarily occupied area, while ignoring the internationally recognized Cyprus government. We understand that they plan to do this through high level Administration meetings with the leader of the pseudo-state before meetings with the President or Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus.
You said to us in 2007, Mr. President, that America was “able to rely on Cyprus in the War on Terror and we were able to rely on Cyprus during the Lebanon Crisis.” Cyprus again demonstrated its support for U.S. security efforts by recently stopping an arms shipment from Iran to Hamas at U.S. urging. The last time Cyprus took such an action, Syria retaliated by taking a step toward de facto recognition of the occupied area of Cyprus by establishing ferryboat service to the north. If the people in your Administration follow through with these meetings, particularly before meeting with the government of Cyprus, our country will have punished Cyprus in the same way Syria did, by taking a step toward de facto recognition of the occupied area.
We know that you want, as you said to us, a “solution to the situation in Cyprus…based on the rule of law, not on force, one that is based on UN resolutions passed on the Cyprus issue, and on the very principles and standards of the EU….” Yet, the occupied area of Cyprus, with which your people are aligning you, is an anathema to those principles — forced into place by more Turkish troops on that little island than America has in Afghanistan. Such de facto recognition will further solidify Turkish insistence on unreasonable Cyprus settlement provisions that virtually all Democrats on the Senate European Affairs Subcommittee objected to and which even a majority of the Republicans on that Subcommittee called “unacceptable to western democracies” in a letter to President Bush.
We understand that the Administration supports Turkey’s eventual accession into the European Union, as does the Republic of Cyprus. Pursuing anything that suggests de facto recognition of the occupation regime would not only be contrary to countless UN Security Council resolutions, but it would perhaps force the Republic of Cyprus to reconsider its stance with regard to Turkey and the EU.
Please overturn these misguided actions by people in your Administration. The Greek-American community that has been so committed to your Presidency and Vice Presidency, and the hope that they believed it would bring to the militarily occupied nation of Cyprus, will be devastated.
Andrew A. Athens, Philip Christopher, Andy Manatos, Peter Papanicolaou, Nikos Mouyiaris, George Tsunis, Tasos Zambas, Endy Zemenides, Zenon Christodoulou, George Dovellos, Michael Galanakis”
The strong warning comes just days before the meeting of the Greek-American leadership with President Barack Obama, during the White House celebration of the Greek Independence Day. Archbishop Demetrios, who is going to be leading the Greek-American delegation, is having a meeting on Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at the State Department. In addition to the issues of the religious freedoms and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that are violated by Turkey, Archbishop Demetrios is expected to raise the objections of the community to a meeting between Hilary Clinton and Talat.