Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Media Watch 2007

01 June 2007
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following editorial article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 1 June 2007.
Bush's stirring words on the rule of law
President George Bush used some stirring words in a speech marking last Monday's Memorial Day holiday, urging Americans to rededicate themselves to fighting for freedom around the world… Would that these were applied universally by the US President so that the rule of law and the rights of people were respected everywhere. Greek Cypriots, particularly the tens of thousands of refugees ethnically cleansed from the Turkish-occupied north of the island, have been praying for years that this were so!

"President George Bush used some stirring words in a speech marking last Monday's Memorial Day holiday, urging Americans to rededicate themselves to fighting for freedom around the world.

US troops are helping build democracies that respect the rights of their people and uphold the rule of law, he said. Paying his respects to America's dead soldiers, Bush added that "because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our nation”.

"On Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to freedom's cause,'' the President declared.

Stirring words indeed!

Would that these were applied universally by the US President so that the rule of law and the rights of people were respected everywhere.

Greek Cypriots, particularly the tens of thousands of refugees ethnically cleansed from the Turkish-occupied north of the island, have been praying for years that this were so!

Greek Cypriots would owe eternal gratitude to President Bush, and the American people, if only his stirring words and dedication in defence of human rights and the rule of law did not remain just words, but were turned into deeds through effective US pressure on Turkey to end its illegal occupation of north Cyprus and to allow the ethnically cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their homes.

The United States, which generously provides Turkey with hundreds of millions of dollars as free aid, has the means of providing such pressure by making the continuation of this aid conditional on Turkey's compliance with international law and respect for human rights, not just in the case of Cyprus, but in connection with its own Kurdish minority also.

In practical terms, the United States can tell Turkey bluntly that it will not receive even a cent of US aid, unless it implements the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights that order it to allow the Greek Cypriot refugees to return to the occuped north and to regain their usurped properties.

Grateful to Italy
Talking of gratitude, Cyprus cannot but be grateful to Italy for its principled stand on the Cyprus issue which was repeated during this week’s visit to the island by the Italian Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Famiano Crucianelli.

Adressing a news conference after his meeting with Foreign Minister George Lillikas, Crucianelli said that the Cyprus problem is not just a problem for Cyprus, but one for the whole of Europe, which must deal with it.

"It is a problem which the whole of Europe must face politically, as it has already done so,’’ Crucianelli said. He went further, saying that Italy agrees completely with Cyprus in that Turkey cannot become a member of the European Union unless its complies with all the rules governing the Union.

This is a clear backing by Italy of the Cypriot demand that the EU accession negotiations with Turkey cannot start before Turkey implements the judgements of the European Rights Court ordering it to allow the Greek Cypriot refugees to return and to regain their properties, a development tantamount to a giant step forward for the reunification of Cyprus and the final settlement of its problem. "