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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-21

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] US congressman points to Turkey's stand in Cyprus

  • 1130:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US congressman points to Turkey's stand in Cyprus

    Nicosia, Feb 21 (CNA) -- US congressman Donald Payne has expressed his firm belief that the Cyprus issue is not a question of two communities not being able to live together, but a problem of Turkey's occupation of part of the island.

    Speaking during a lunch organised Friday by the magazine "Mediterranean Quarterly", the New Jersey Democrat congressman criticized his government for being satisfied with "protracted management rather than a fair solution to the problem".

    "I firmly believe that the Cyprus problem does not reflect any inherent animosity between two communities or their inability to live side by side in peace and dignity," he said.

    Payne pointed out the Cyprus question is an issue of external aggression and described it as "a problem of occupation of the territory of a sovereign state by Turkey..."

    He said the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus' territory "represents over two decades of unanswered questions, human rights violations and cultural destruction."

    The Democrat congressman said the American President's initiative last year to appoint Richard Holbrooke as his special emissary for Cyprus was applauded, but his "sporadic visits to Cyprus has caused many of us to question his efforts and commitment to forging peace."

    He also said that since Holbrooke's appointment "Turkey has escalated tensions in the region, they continue their war against the Kurds, pursues a revisionist agenda on the Aegean and reportedly uses the territory of Cyprus as a firing range during military exercises."

    "The question some of us in Congress have is why does it take so long for the world community and the US to come to grips with a problem which has the potential to be far more explosive than Bosnia," Payne said.

    He added that "irrespective as to who occupies the White House, it seems as though we are always satisfied with protracted management rather than a fair solution of the (Cyprus) problem. I just can't buy this is the best we can do."

    The member of the Congress Committee on International Relations and the Human Rights Sub-committee, pointed out that "unlike Bosnia and Kuwait the use of appropriate tools to compel compliance by an intruder of a state's sovereignty was never entertained for Cyprus."

    Payne expressed the view that "the Clinton administration has somewhat been forced to put Cyprus at the top of its agenda because of the NATO expansion issue."

    He suggests the US administration should "properly define" the Cyprus problem as aggression on Turkey's part and therefore the occupation army should be subject to international law, and said it should halt all aid to Turkey and Greece.

    "Turks and Greeks of Cyprus should be given their own fair chance to share in an expanded Europe instead of becoming prisoners of an expanded Turkey," the congressman concluded. CNA DA/MA/RM/98


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