TCA ISSUE PAPER-5
April 26, 2007
The following are excerpts of remarks by Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), entered into the Congressional Record on April 24, 2007.
(…) On this date three years ago, the inhabitants of the island (Cyprus) participated in a referenda put forward by the United Nations under Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Annan Plan (…) foresaw a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality. We recall that the Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island voted by an impressive majority in favor of the Annan Plan. Unfortunately, this support was not reciprocated by the Greek Cypriots and a comprehensive settlement was not, nor has been since, agreed to.
The Annan was the product of intense negotiations conducted under the auspices of the UN Secretary General between the Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkey and Greece (…) Had it passed, it would have brought about a resolution to the longstanding separation of the island and contributed to political stability in this region of the world. Following the referenda, the Greek Cypriot side, which rejected the Annan Plan, was granted entrance into the EU. However, the Turkish Cypriot side, which accepted the settlement plan, remained outside of the EU.
Soon after the referenda, the former UN Secretary General, in his report to the Security Council, pointed out this injustice and stressed that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted given that they had voted for a settlement. In the same report, he called upon all states to eliminate the unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the people of Northern Cyprus and impeding development.
The Council of the European Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Organization of the Islamic Conference all concurred in declaring the need to put right this injustice.
Although it has been three years since the international community made commitments toward this end, and despite the conviction that reducing the inequalities between the economies of the two sides would facilitate the reunification of the island, the necessary steps have not been taken regarding the removal or relaxation of the isolation (…)
More than ever before, as supporters of a comprehensive settlement on the island, I strongly believe that the removal of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots – economic, social and political – would be the most positive step in the quest for the resumption of political negotiations on the path to a settlement. The Turkish Cypriots have demonstrated remarkable flexibility and political maturity. They rose to the occasion when the critical moment came three years ago in mutually deciding the future of Cyprus. Acknowledging and properly responding to their constructive behavior is not only the right message to all concerned, but is also a requisite of fairness and justice