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AHEPA Applauds US Brokered Greek Turkish Communique

By George Savidis, Director, AHEPA Office of Public Affairs
( 202.232.6300

Washington, July 9, 1997 -- The largest Greek American group has expressed its satisfaction following the issuance yesterday of a joint Greek-Turkish communique outlining the basis for better relations.

The agreement was reached by Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers Theodoros Pangalos and Ismail Cem during the recent NATO meetings in Madrid and reaffirmed by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.

U.S. Secretary of Sate Madeleine Albright had facilitated the deal.

The agreement is the first positive result of the recent decision by the Clinton Administration to pro-actively address Greek-Turkish relations and the Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus, which continue to threaten the stability of the region.

A crisis in December of 1995 and January of 1996, over Turkish claims and military actions in violation of international treaties in the Aegean, had seriously damaged relations between the two NATO allies. Tensions had remained high with increased Turkish Aegean overflights and bellicose statements in the interim.

A partial U.S. arms embargo, particularly aimed against Turkey, but also affecting Greece, has been in place as a result of the tensions.

AHEPA is also optimistic at the placement of U.S. focus, and high caliber diplomats, such as former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, on the Cyprus issue.

The AHEPA Office of Public and Government Affairs represents the largest Greek American organization in Washington AHEPA is the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.