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Monday, February 16, 2009


(CNA) - US Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) will travel to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. The primary focus of his trip is the political situation in Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

Durbin left US on Saturday, traveling first to Cyprus, then on to Greece and Turkey. Stops in Nicosia, Athens, Ankara and Istanbul are currently planned, a news release issued by Durbin`s office said.

“For more than a generation, the situation in Cyprus has left an island and a region divided,” Durbin said. “Cyprus, Greece and Turkey are all vital allies of the United States and important to the region. We all hope that a peaceful and enduring settlement can be reached,” he added.

According to the news release, Durbin is not traveling as a representative of the Obama Administration. Durbin’s position as a member of the Senate Leadership and Appropriations Committee comes with the responsibility to lead delegations on official visits with senior foreign government officials regarding issues affecting United States bilateral and regional relationships. The trip will give Durbin the ability to gain firsthand knowledge of progress in the region and the challenges that still lie ahead.

Alexis Giannoulias, Illinois State Treasurer, will travel with the Senator for a portion of the trip. Florida Congressman Robert Wexler (D, FL-19) will be traveling in Turkey next week and may join Durbin for a series of meetings.

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