Top US Policymakers Call For End To 40 Year Division of Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC, July 18, 2014 – On the eve of the 40th commemoration of the July 20 invasion, occupation and division of Cyprus, the foreign policy leadership of the US Congress and a large block of its most influential members called on Turkey to end its occupation and on the US Government to strongly support US ally, the Republic of Cyprus, and Cyprus settlement efforts.

Greek-American leaders from across the country came to Washington, DC July 15-17 for the 30th Annual Cyprus Conference, hosted by PSEKA and the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH).  Over 50 of the most influential US policymakers – from the US Congress, White House and State Department – participated in this important conference.  Highlights from this conference included:

  • The two individuals selected by the US Senate and House to lead the US Congress’ foreign policy formulation — the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menenedez (D-NJ) and the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) – took several major actions in support of Cyprus.  They:
  • Unprecedentedly signed a joint letter to President Barack Obama urging him to increase, even higher, Administration attention toward ending Turkey’s 40-year-old military occupation of our ally, the Republic of Cyprus.  This is rare among their frequently feuding parties and chambers of Congress and will significantly elevate the Cyprus issue on the American agenda.  The full text of the letter is here.
  • Also for the first time, the two Chairmen used wire cutters to sever a piece of barbed wire in front of the US Capitol Building (picture below), symbolizing their desire to end to the occupation and division of Cyprus, following a joint press conference.
  • Stood with over 30 key Senators and Members who joined them in expressing the US Congress’ support for ending the division of Cyprus.
  • Met with conference participants in the US Capitol building
    • Over 30 of the most influential Senators and Members of Congress with regard to US foreign policy toward the Eastern Mediterranean joined Greek-American leaders on the steps of the US Capitol Building to call for an end to Turkey’s 40 year division and occupation of Cyprus (pictures below).  Some of these key policymakers included:
      • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
      • Congressmen Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee
      • Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
      • Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Democratic Leader
      • Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Chairman, Senate Armed Services Subcommittee / Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
      • Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Chairman, House Middle East Subcommittee
      • Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ranking Member, House Middle East Subcommittee/ Co-Founder, Hellenic-Israel Caucus
      • Congressman William Keating (D-MA) Ranking Member, House Europe Subcommittee
      • Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member, House Appropriations Committee & Ranking Member, House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee
      • Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), House Democratic Leadership / Ranking Member, House Budget Committee
      • Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), House Democratic Leadership / Foreign Operations Approps. Subc.
      • Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), House Democratic Leadership
    • Honoring Counselor to President Barack Obama and former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, John Podestaand the National Security Advisor to the Vice President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan.
    • The Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel, sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry calling on him to encourage Turkey to cooperate in the search for the missing persons in Cyprus.
    • Over 20 Senators and Members of Congress put statements in the Congressional Record in support of US ally, the Republic of Cyprus, and Cyprus settlement efforts.  By the end of next week, a record number of Senators and Members are expected to have made statements on the Record supporting Cyprus.