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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis, Maloney and Cicilline Champion Alliance between U.S. and the Republic of Cyprus

July 26, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC:  Congressman Bilirakis enjoyed the privilege of leading a meaningful discussion on the House Floor about the partnership between the U.S. and the Republic of Cyprus. Bilirakis was joined with his fellow co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Affairs, Representative Carolyn Maloney and tireless advocate of the Republic of Cyprus and Greece, Representative David Cicilline.  Bilirakis provided an update on one of the United States’ most important allies, the Republic of Cyprus. Despite the continued 44 year illegal occupation of the island nation by 40,000 Turkish troops, the Republic of Cyprus has taken a leadership role in the Eastern Mediterranean to facilitate partnerships among moderate countries with the goal of fostering regional stability, economic development through the advancement of energy independence, and counterterrorism activities.  Of equal importance, the Republic of Cyprus also enjoys a long-standing record of serving as an unwavering U.S. ally.  After suffering a profound financial crisis in the previous decade, the Republic of Cyprus has undertaken significant reforms under the leadership of President Anastasiades that have stabilized and strengthened the country’s economy and its banking sector. The result of these reforms, coupled with other government policies and the ingenuity of the Cypriot people, is that the Cypriot economy is experiencing strong growth and is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. The future is bright for the Republic of Cyprus and its banking sector. Ending the illegal occupation of the Republic of Cyprus would safeguard the country’s independence while amplifying its bridge-building capacity, further stabilizing and bringing peace to the region—all of which will make the Republic of Cyprus an even stronger U.S. ally. 

Turkey, a NATO ally, must cease its inflammatory rhetoric, normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus, and commit to peacefully working towards a negotiated solution. The Republic of Cyprus has been a steadfast ally, and Cypriots of all backgrounds deserve an end to the senseless division of their homeland. Today, the United States, despite Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s provocative language and actions, still enjoys the unique role as a partner of both Cyprus and Turkey. As an honest broker to both sides, we can help them see that a unified future for Cyprus is far more promising than the present division. Our relationship with our allies must be based on shared values and mutual respect. At the core, the rule of law must be respected above all else. I encourage the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to keep up the hard work of unifying a people divided for over a generation. Tough and important issues remain, but hopefully this illegal occupation will come to an end. A reunified island would serve as a spark for further cooperation and economic stability. In short, it would unleash the region’s incredible potential,” said Bilirakis.    To read a full copy of the comments given by Congressman Bilirakis, click here.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, the current co-Chair and original co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Affairs also participated in the discussion.  “I founded this caucus with former Congressman Michael Bilirakis in 1996.  It remains one of the largest and most active caucuses in Congress.  No single bill has been sent to the Floor that hinders or rolls back rights to Greece or Cyprus in an way since this caucus was formed,” said Maloney.      

Bilirakis and Maloney welcomed input from Representative David Cicilline who expressed his intent to “celebrate the important relationship between the U.S. and Cyprus and the critical role the partnership plays in advancing the national security of both countries.”

To watch the full discussion among these Congressional leaders, click here.