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Politics

National Security Council to Groups: U.S. Has Called for a Reversal on Varosha

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek and Cypriot American organizations, including the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), received a response from the National Security Council (NSC) that addressed the United States’ position on the reopening of Varosha by Turkish authorities and its impact upon Cyprus settlement talks in addition to the imposition of sanctions on Turkey for its procurement of the Russian S-400 air defense system.

The NSC’s December 29 letter is a response to an October 30 joint letter the organizations sent to President Donald J. Trump, encouraging him to take steps to hold Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government accountable for their actions in the region. The organizations conveyed outrage over Turkey’s illegal reopening of the beach in Varosha, President Erdogan’s open declaration of support for a two-state solution in Cyprus, and Turkey’s overall destabilizing behavior and malign influence.

“The United States is correct to call for a reversal of steps taken by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities that led to the illegal reopening of Varosha and to point out their actions are provocative and inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolutions in addition to not being conducive to the resumption of settlement talks,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “We thank the NSC for addressing our organizations’ concerns and for its continued vigilance of Varosha and Turkey’s overall actions in the region.”

In addition to AHI, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), Federation of Cypriot-American Organizations (FCAO), Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, signed the letter.

The text of the National Security Council Letter follows:

December 29, 2020

Dear Mr. Horiates, Mr. Larigakis, Mr. Christopher, Mr. Papastylianou, Mr. Zemenides, and Ms. Pappas,

Thank you for your letter to President Trump dated October 30. Please note that the United States government is closely monitoring the situation in Varosha and on several occasions has expressed to Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities our deep concerns over the reopening of part of Varosha and called for the reversal of such steps. In October, Secretary of State Pompeo spoke to Republic of Cyprus Foreign Minister Christodoulides and stated that the reopening of a part of Varosha is provocative, inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789, and not conducive to a return to settlement talks. The United States government supported action by the UN Security Council and welcomed the strong October 9 UNSC Presidential Statement on Varosha. The United States also called out Turkish President Erdogan's visit to Varosha in November as a step in the wrong direction. The United States continues to support a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a hi-zonal, bi-communal federation, an outcome which would benefit all Cypriots.

On Turkey, the United States has long expressed concern over Turkey's procurement of the Russian S-400 air defense system. As you have seen, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey, on December 14 for its procurement of this Russian system, and we will continue to remain vigilant of Turkey's actions.

I want to thank the Greek and Cypriot diaspora community for your important contributions and continued engagement with the United States government.

Sincerely,

Ryan Tully

Senior Director for Europe and Russia

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