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lauds the Greek Prime Minister for supporting the U.N.-sponsored plan despite the opposition of the Greek Cypriot leadership.
For many Turkish Cypriots who desired reconciliation with the south, membership in the EU as part of a unified Cyprus, as well as an improved economy, found that their decision to support the Annan Plan was not easy. For over 40 years, the Turkish Cypriot community has suffered greatly under the weight of international political isolation and economic sanctions. Given the Turkish Cypriots' strong vote in favor of the Annan Plan and overwhelming international recognition of their courageous decision, it is critical that the U.S., EU and U.N. follow through on their calls to end the unjustified isolation of Northern Cyprus. Unfortunately, despite strong sentiments expressed by Secretary General Kofi Annan, Prime Minister Tony Blair and American and EU officials to remove these onerous barriers, little has been done to lift these restrictions.
It has been over 5 months since the referendum, and the international community has not kept its promises to the Turkish Cypriot people.
During this time, the Northern Cypriot Government has furthered its commitment to peace by announcing that all churches in the north are free to conduct liturgies, creating new border crossings and opening its secondary-level school for Greek Cypriots living in the Karpaz area. It is a testament to the strength and determination of the Turkish Cypriots, who continue to pursue peace on Cyprus regardless of the inaction of the international community.
While Greek Cypriots have reaped the benefits of EU membership, it is now incumbent upon the international community to lift up the Northern Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot people have proven that they are no longer an obstacle to peace, and it is unconscionable for anyone to argue that the status quo is acceptable.
Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Wexler.
Mr. BURTON. Madam Chairman, we have debated this issue for, I do not know-I have been here 22 years, and I know we have debated it at least 15 to 20 years. And I think progress is being made.
. I think the moves made by the Turkish Cypriots to open up the borders for church services and that sort of thing is a step in the right direction. And I agree with Mr. Wexler, that it is extremely important that in addition to the Greek Cypriots getting the economic recognition they want from the EU, that the Turkish Cypriots should as well. So that would be another step toward bringing about goodwill and maybe reunification of the Island.
So I can wholeheartedly concur.
I am opposed to this amendment in the nature of a substitute. It really, quite frankly, is completely one-sided. It is poorly written and it is not consistent with our longstanding policy of support for the reunification of Cyprus.
Specifically, the amendment seeks to recognize and perpetuate the division on the Island by rewarding the Turkish Cypriot community at the expense of Greek Cypriots. It lauds the Turkish Cypriot community for their confidence-building measures, which is fine, but it makes no mention of the ongoing efforts of the Republic of Cyprus to ease tensions, to broaden community interaction and to extend the benefits of EU membership to Turkish Cypriots.
So, Madam Chair, the fact of the matter is that today on the Island of Cyprus there are two communities-one Greek, one Turkish. Both communities want desperately to see an end to the division of their country. Although the Greek Cypriot community rejected the Annan Plan because they legitimately believed that it was flawed, they never relinquished the hope of reunification.
This resolution, as it is framed, would, quite frankly, hinder ongoing efforts to reunify the two communities by encouraging the recognition of a separate political entity in Northern Cyprus. It would legitimate the Island's division by encouraging aid to go directly to the north, rather than working through the existing Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
I believe that if the United States is truly interested in seeking a reunified Cyprus, then we cannot support this resolution as it is currently written. And I urge my colleagues to vote “no” on it.
Thank you. And I yield the balance of my time.
Actually, three of the confidence-building measures were Greekinitiated, and all the references to the Greek position were deleted.
Mr. McCOTTER. Yes, following up on the gentlelady's previous remarks, it seems to me that it takes two to tango. And while one side might have supported the plan, another side did not. And at the end of the day, they have to live there with each other. And perhaps there is a better plan out there that both could agree on. It seems to me precipitous to side with one over the other, because it is really rather irrelevant in the long run.
Ms. LEE. Would the gentleman yield, please?
Ms. LEE. I must agree with you, and I think this resolution does agree with one side versus the other. And I think that we should be in the business of trying to forge a policy that creates the reunification.
Mr. ENGEL. Madam Chair?
Mr. ENGEL. I have an amendment at the desk. I do not know if this is the right time to introduce it.
Mrs. Davis. The clerk will call up the amendment.
Ms. HALLOCK. “Amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute Offered by Mr. Engel”
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
AMENDMENT TO THE AMENDMENT IN THE
NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
OFFERED BY MR. ENGEL
Page 2, beginning on line 1, strike "or eventual membership in the European Union”.
Page 3, beginning on line 5, strike "designed to"
and all that follows through line 7 and insert "to improve
the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot commu
Mr. ENGEL. I rise to offer an amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute. Let me tell you that there are two small changes I wish to offer to this resolution.
Let me first of all say that I agree with Ms. Lee, essentially, and Mr. McCotter, in that it does take two to tango. And I think that we will only have a resolution of the problems on Cyprus if both communities find a middle ground or find a ground on which they can both agree. If one community agrees with the document and the other one does not, we are obviously not going to have agreement.
There are a number of problems with the agreement that the Greek side has talked about for a while, and I just want to say, they are not insubstantial disagreements. Certain rights and freedoms in the agreement were prohibited. I will just mention three. The control of
one's Government entities and all military forces in one's country. That right and freedom was prohibited, the Greek side believes, by the agreement. Freedom from restrictions keeping types of citizens from residing in parts of the country, purchasing property or keeping their property. And finally, a democracy preponderantly based on the one person, one-vote principle. Many on the Greek side believe this agreement prohibited that without discriminatory restrictions against certain types of citizens in certain areas.
So, you know, again, the agreement can only happen if the Cypriots agree. It is nice that the leaders of Greece and Turkey agree, but we have to have the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots agreeing in order for the amendment to be valid and to be workable.
So I offer to amendment which talks about two small changes; it does not talk about the whole thing. Clause 2 of the resolve section suggests that the Turkish Cypriot people should not abandon all hope of a united Cyprus or eventual membership in the EU.
I believe that the statement is technically inaccurate, because all of Cyrus is in the EU, including the north, and that includes the first part of my amendment.
The final resolve clause is also problematic. While I certainly support efforts to enhance the economic development of the northern part of Cyprus and hope that the situation facing Turkish Cypriots will improve, the truth is the isolation of the northern part of Cyprus is due to the illegal occupation by a foreign army. And that is why it has been isolated. Any suggestion that might imply some form of recognition, which I believe is buried in this clause, is misplaced. Regardless of whether one thinks the Turkish Cypriots were right or wrong or the Greek Cypriots were right or wrong in their positions toward the Annan Plan. Again, as Ms. Lee mentioned, and I agree, this issue can only be resolved in negotiations between the parties.
So let us support enhanced economic development of the northern part of Cyprus, which my amendment does, and not political changes, which should only occur at the bargaining table.
And the second part of my amendment, beginning on line 5, would strike “designed to” and all that follows, through line 7 and insert “to improve the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community”. That way we can truly talk about improving the lives of people without prejudging very difficult political negotiations which still have to be negotiated if there is going to be an agreement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Mr. BURTON. Would the gentleman yield? Mr. ENGEL. Certainly.
Mr. BURTON. If we pass your amendment, are you going to vote for this thing?
Mr. ENGEL. No, I will not, because-
Mr. ENGEL. I have some problem with it. Although I do think that my amendment will make it a better document, I still have problems with other clauses.
Mr. BURTON. Will the Chair yield to me?
Mr. BURTON. You know, I can count. There are four votes against this and three for. So I can see where we are going on this thing and it is not going to pass. But the thing that bothers me is, back when they were going to have unified elections and everything there, Archbishop Makarios came up with a policy-he was elected leader there. He came up with a policy of enosis, which was to reunite Cyprus with Greece. And that is when the whole problem started, because the Turkish Cypriots felt like they were going to be left out in the cold. And then a civil war started there and the Turkish Cypriots were being literally annihilated. And that is why Turkey sent troops in there, to protect the Turkish Cypriots on the northern part of the Island. And so that is when the Green Line took place.
Now, if they are ever going to solve this problem and if you are going to get the Turkish troops off the Island, there is going to have to be an agreement that both sides are going to live together and they are both going to have the same economic benefits as the other.
If you cannot even pass a resolution like this, then I do not think there is any chance of things getting better in the future. I mean, this goes back a long, long way. Everybody wants this problem solved—the EU and everybody, including the United States. But it is not going to be solved as long as you cannot give equal rights and benefits to the Turkish Cypriots and that they are guaranteed security in the Northern Cypriot area.
That guarantee is still not there, and that is why you have Turkish troops there.
Mrs. Davis. Mr. Wexler?
Mr. WEXLER. If I may speak to the criticism voiced by the Members as to the resolution. With all due respect, we are not here arguing the merits of the Cypriot division throughout the decades. We are here talking about the specific language of this resolution.
Mrs. Lee talked about taking sides and so forth. Let us go through the resolution, because, with all due respect, I do not think it takes sides.
All the resolution does, as offered by the Chair, is it congratulates the Turkish Cypriots for their vote in favor of the U.N. plan. We cannot congratulate the Greek Cypriot side, because they voted against it.