Influential US Congressmen, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, have praised US-Cyprus relations, pointing out that Cyprus is a strong ally to the US and pledging to continue to offer their support for a solution and the reunification of the island, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
They also said that that Turkey may be a NATO partner but it is no real ally, adding that it is time that US policies reflect that.
The Members of the Congress sent video messages which were shown during the morning deliberations of the Conference of Overseas Cypriots held in Nicosia. The messages were secured thanks to the efforts of the Executive Director of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) Mike Manatos, who vowed to continue fighting for freedom and justice for Cyprus because «his heart will always be with Cyprus», as he said.
Manatos pointed out that the statements from influential US policymakers “are not your ordinary expressions of support.”
In their statements the US Congressmen made references to the Cyprus problem, Cyprus’ sovereign right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its exclusive economic zone and condemned Turkey’s provocative stance.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce pointed out that the relationship between the United States and Cyprus is strong and enduring and described Cyprus as a valued partner and as a bulwark for democracy in the Mediterranean.
Messages were also sent by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Energy Committee, the House Middle East Subcommittee and House Human Rights Subcommittee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, among others.
Some of them stressed that it is absolutely vital that the United States shows its support to Cyprus, by enhancing defence and security ties and adding that it is Washington’s responsibility to ensure that Cyprus has everything it needs to remain a beacon of freedom and liberty in an otherwise dark region of the world.
They also underlined that the US should lift its outdated arms embargo on Cyprus, adding that there is no good reason for the United States to deny a tried and true ally like Cyprus essential weaponry for its defence.
On Cyprus-Israel relations, the Congressmen said that Cyprus has gone to great lengths to forge closer relationships with Israel and in the end everybody will benefit, adding that it is critical that the United States continues to help foster the growing strategic and economic relationship between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
They also said that the US must ensure that they don’t allow Turkey to get the F-35s, adding that Turkey may be a NATO partner but it is no real ally and it is time that US policies reflect that.
As regards Turkey’s occupation, they pointed out that Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan remains committed to exploiting Turkey’s decades long military occupation for geopolitical leverage against the West and that Turkey in Cyprus takes human lives hostage to extort political ransoms. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable from any nation anywhere in the world, much less a NATO ally, they said.
In his speech Mike Manatos said that Turkey is now spending to lobby the US Government by some estimates over $10 million a month and while Cyprus and Greece have invested resources in Washington at varying levels over the years, they do not come even close to these massive amounts spent by Turkey and for Israel.
“So what do we do to build these important relationships? We find another way to influence these Senators and Members. We personally contribute to and raise money for them. So, if a friend who appreciates their work in the US Congress offers to contribute to and raise money for their re-election – often their greatest burden – they greatly appreciate it. This also gives us an hour or more directly with the policymaker – not their staff – to educate them and help them understand the justness of our issue,” Manatos concluded.
During the morning deliberations of the Conference, a video prepared by NEPOMAK, the World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots, was shown in which British politicians pointed out that it is high time Cyprus is reunited and that guarantees should be abolished and Turkish troops should end their presence on the island.