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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Congressmen call on Obama to seek Turkey's cooperation on Cyprus

(Financial Mirror) - Fifty five Congressmen have urged US President Barack Obama ''to impress upon Turkey that a solution to the Cyprus problem cannot be reached without its full and constructive cooperation, both in the process and in the outcome of the negotiations for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, and without the withdrawal of its military forces from Cyprus.''

In a letter to Obama, dated 5 October, the 55 Congressmen welcome the commitment demonstrated by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat who have been engaged in direct negotiations since September 2008 with the aim of reunifying the island.

''Only a well-prepared and mutually agreed settlement based on the universal principles of international law and human rights, the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, and the principles on which the European Union is founded would guarantee a just, viable and lasting solution,'' they stress.

They also reiterate their support for the reunification of the island and its people in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, adding that ''such a solution for Cyprus would respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots.''

They also note that a solution to the Cyprus problem must come from the Cypriots themselves and serve first and foremost their interests, which can be achieved if the Cypriots retain ownership of the process which should not be subjected to strict timeframes or arbitration.

''Ultimately however, the key to a successful outcome of the negotiating process and reunification of the island remains with Ankara. Turkey must give the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community the necessary freedom to negotiate a solution within the established framework and facilitate that solution with the removal of its troops from Cyprus,'' they conclude.

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