American Hellenic Institute


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AHI Statement on G8 and U.N. Calls for New Talks on Cyprus
July 1, 1999 No. 25/99 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement on G8 and U.N. Calls for New Talks on Cyprus

At its meeting in Cologne, Germany from 19-20 June, 1999 the G8 countries called for new negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem. The G8 statement reads in part:

"The members of the G8, therefore, urge the U.N. Secretary-General in accordance with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions to invite the leaders of the two parties to negotiations in the fall of 1999. They call upon the two leaders to give their full support to such a comprehensive negotiation, under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary-General. In accepting this invitation, the two parties/leaders should commit themselves to the following principles:

  • No pre-conditions;
  • All issues on the table;
  • Commitment in good faith to continue to negotiate until a settlement is reached;
  • Full consideration of relevant U.N. resolutions and treaties. The members of the G8 undertake to give their full and sustained backing to the negotiating process."

On June 29, 1999 the U.N. Security Council passed Security Council Resolutions 1250 (1999) and 1251 (1999) requesting the Secretary-General to invite the leaders of the two parties for negotiations to begin in fall 1999. The resolutions state that the negotiations are to be held on the understanding that a "Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions."

The American Hellenic Institute agrees that the time is long overdue for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. 1999 marks the 25th anniversary of Turkey's illegal invasion of Cyprus and its continuing illegal occupation of 37.3 percent of the island. It is a scandal that the international community has tolerated this act of aggression for so long. On July 20, 1999 AHI will co-sponsor the "Hands Across the Capitol" rally to dramatize this sad anniversary. On July 28, 1999 AHI will sponsor a Capitol Hill conference and luncheon to mark the anniversary. Members of Congress and distinguished experts on the Cyprus problem will participate.

AHI notes that the Cyprus government has indicated that it will participate in the G8 and U.N. initiative but that the Turkish government and Turkish Cypriot authorities have dismissed the G8's statement. In particular, AHI deplores the strongly negative responses from Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismael Cem, including their calls for international recognition of the areas under illegal Turkish occupation.

AHI further notes that 25 years of negotiation have failed to resolve the Cyprus problem It believes that it is time to recognize that the approach adopted by the international community since 1974 of treating Cyprus as a traditional diplomatic problem where 'meet-in-the-middle' negotiations involving compromises by each side has failed. Despite compromises made by Cyprus, Turkey has not reciprocated. To break the deadlock, the international community must follow a realistic approach based on the rule of law and the fundamentally clear and straightforward issues underlying the Cyprus problem. These are:

  1. The Cyprus problem is one of aggression, illegal occupation and attempted dismemberment by Turkey, whereby the Republic of Cyprus is the victim and Turkey is the aggressor. In Kosovo NATO took massive action to resist aggression. NATO should take non-military action to reverse Turkey's aggression in Cyprus. As a NATO member and EU aspirant Turkey should be held to the highest standards of compliance with international law.
  2. For 24 years, Turkey has violated the will of the United States and the United Nations to cease its illegal occupation of Cyprus and not to recognize or give any other assistance to the illegally occupied areas. Instead it has reinforced its forces there and illegally sent Turkish settlers there.
  3. The international community and the United States share a moral responsibility to make good on their years of shameful toleration of Turkey's aggression.

The time has come to restore these essential facts to the center of policy. Turkey is overwhelmingly responsible for the Cyprus problem by its aggression and illegal occupation. Instead of continuing what in the face of Turkish intransigence will likely be a barren process of negotiation, the G8 should now:

  1. State that it is ending its current approach and that future talks will take place on the basis on the precondition of restoring the status quo ante and the rule of law as it applied before Turkey's 1974 illegal invasion.
  2. Identify Turkey and its military-dominated government as the responsible party for the Cyprus problem and recognize that the Turkish military is the key, not Mr. Denktash.
  3. Demand that Turkey complies immediately with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, cease all measures to integrate the occupied areas with Turkey, immediately withdraw all occupation troops, and agree to the demilitarization of the island.
  4. Demand the restoration of constitutional government for all of Cyprus based on majority rule, the rule of law, and protection of minority rights.
  5. Institute a realistic diplomatic approach including coercive measures against Turkey such as sanctions and denial of assistance from the international financial institutions in the event of Turkish non-compliance or any further violation of international law by Turkey in Cyprus.