Washington, D.C.- A resolution introduced in the US House of Representatives, commends the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot people for their support and assistance in the evacuation of Americans fleeing Lebanon.
Original co-sponsors of the resolution tabled on Wednesday are Republican Michael Bilirakis and leader of the Democrats at the International Relations Committee Tom Lantos. The resolution was supported by a further 29 members of the House from both parties.
The resolution notes that “the government of the Republic of Cyprus has launched a major effort to support the evacuation of American citizens and others fleeing Lebanon”.
It adds that “at the request of the United States Embassy in Nicosia, the Cypriot government has made its premises in Nicosia available to American citizens as temporary residences until their departure from Cyprus can be arranged”.
The resolution states that “the Department of State has expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the Cypriot Civil Defense Force and the Cypriot people in the evacuation effort”.
According to the resolution, “there are an estimate 25.000 American citizens living in or visiting Lebanon and many of these American citizens, are seeking to leave Lebanon as a result of dangers of remaining in that war-torn country”.
Introducing the resolution, Bilirakis said, “The Republic of Cyprus has proven to be an ally of this country. An ally which, in times of need, stands up to the plate and offers assistance, understanding and compassion to our citizens.”
“I think it is only appropriate for the U.S. Congress to recognize and thank President Tassos Papadopoulos and the Cypriot people for their swift offer of assistance for our citizens and for their efforts to alleviate the distress and suffering of our families,” said Bilirakis.
PALLONE PRAISES CYPRUS
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, praised the Cypriot Government and the people of Cyprus for their help in coordinating evacuation efforts out of Lebanon. The New Jersey congressman said the Bush administration must improve its relations with Cyprus in order to reunify the island-nation, which has been divided since Turkish troops illegally occupied the northern third of the island 32 years ago.
“I commend the Cypriot government for its effective work in coordinating evacuation efforts with both the U.S. Government and the world community. According to a State Department official, “Cypriots have met every helicopter and ship with sandwiches and water and juice. They’re just being fantastic.” This is nothing new—-Cyprus has always been a strong ally of the United States.
“I hope Cyprus’ actions will help the Bush administration reevaluate its relationship with the island-nation, a relationship that it has cooled over the last couple of years”, Pallone stated.
Congressman Pallone encouraged Secretary Rice to take a historic look at the Cyprus problem.
“I hope that the Bush administration remembers how helpful both the Cyprus government and the people of Cyprus have been over the last week. It’s time that we return to the fair-minded policies enacted prior to 2005 so that we can finally bring about real negotiations that will finally reunify Cyprus. The 32 years of occupation must come to an end”.
IN THE SENATE
Similar efforts have also been made in the US Senate. A letter initiated by Senator Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Sarbanes (D-MD), and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to thank Cyprus for their role in assisting the evacuation of U.S. citizens and others leaving Lebanon.
The letter will be circulating in the Senate to gather signatures before being sent to the President of Cyprus. American Hellenic Institute and the Coordinated Efforts of Hellenes call on the members of the Greek American community to contact their senators immediately and ask him/her to sign this letter by August 4, 2006, the day Senate goes into recess for August.
CEH leaders sent the following letter to hundreds of key U.S. policy-makers in the Administration and the U.S. Congress regarding Cyprus’ heroic efforts to help evacuate Americans from Lebanon.
“Again, Cyprus is saving Americans. As in 1983, when Cyprus opened its heart and took in wounded and dying U.S. Marines bombed in their Beirut barracks, after Turkey refused to treat them, Cyprus is doing so again.
`Remarkable cooperation’ and `absolutely phenomenal’ said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN spokesman Brian Kelly about the actions of Cyprus – a nation of only 760,000 – to help evacuate 25,000 American citizens and others from Lebanon. Cypriots have been working around-the-clock to feed, house and transport these refugees. And, Cyprus plans to serve as a crucial staging point for a massive humanitarian effort in Lebanon.
When Cyprus needs us in their nascent settlement talks, will we be there for them? Will this year’s American-backed settlement proposal be predicated on the supposition that Turkey occupies Cyprus because Turkish-Cypriots need protection – when in fact 10 million crossings of the Green Line dividing Cyprus have occurred, without incident? Or will an American-backed settlement be predicated on the peace between Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots that has prevailed for 96% of their 400-year-history.
And, this time, will America support the Turks if again they reject all settlement plans unless they: (1) void property rights of certain ethnicities; (2) require official foreign involvement in Cyprus’ governance and military; and (3) impose less than one-man-one-vote for certain ethnicities and more than one-man-one-vote for other ethnicities? Or, will America support democratic principles?
Again, Cyprus saved us. It is time for us to save them.”