COVENTRY R.I. .- Two Days before the referenda, Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis has expressed support for whatever decision the Cypriot people make. At the same time, Raptakis is rejecting what he called the threats and pressure tactics used by the Bush administration and the U.N. to push doubtful Greek-Cypriots into voting for the flawed plan.
“The strong arm tactics taking place in the lead up to the election are a disservice to the Cypriot people who have suffered under foreign occupation and shown tremendous patience while waiting for the world to world to take notice and resolve this crisis,” said Raptakis. “The world community seems to be rushing toward any solution which will allow them to bring Cyprus into the European Union, regardless of the conditions that will be created on the ground.”
Raptakis added, “The people of Cyprus deserve the right to carefully consider this plan and decide whether it provides the best approach for creating the conditions of security, freedom, and economic prosperity for all of its citizens.”
As one of the founding members of the Hellenic-American Coalition of New England, a group of Hellenic-American elected officials, Raptakis expressed disappointment with the U.N., the European Union and the State Department for trying to scare Greek Cypriots into a “yes” vote. One E.U. official and the U.S. Special Envoy to Cyprus have suggested they would do everything possible after the vote to improve the conditions of Turkish Cypriots and the E.U. foreign policy chief stood side by side with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and suggested that if Greek Cypriots reject the U.N. plan, “life will not be the same. Everyone has to know that.”
“Cypriots are being put in the untenable position of having to take the Turkish government at its word on many key aspects of the plan, with no guarantees that crucial property and security issues will be settled,” said Raptakis. “The final Annan plan benefits the Turkish side and does not achieve the goal of true re-unification. But the Cypriot people are being asked to ignore those issues and pin their hopes on the idle dream that the very people who couldn’t draft a fair deal for a peace plan will somehow make everything better in the years ahead. The people of Cyprus deserve better.”