U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has made a statement on Friday in support of Cyprus on the 61st anniversary of its independence.
Senator Menendez is a noted ally to Cyprus when it comes to Turkey. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a consistent supporter of Greece and Cyprus and a staunch critic of Turkish President Erdogan’s policies in eastern Mediterranean. He was instrumental in passing legislation ending the US arms embargo on the Republic.
Menendez’s statement celebrates Cyprus’ independence and calls for an end “the Turkish military’s illegal occupation of Cypriot territory” and affirms the U.S. and Cyprus’s commitment to each other as allies. The statement reads as follows:
“I join the Cypriot community in New Jersey and around the world in celebrating the 61st anniversary of independence of the Republic of Cyprus.
“On this day, let us reaffirm our condemnation of the Turkish military’s illegal occupation of Cypriot territory starting almost 50 years ago, and categorically reject any continued attempt to redraw borders in Europe by creating a separate state in northern Cyprus. As a stalwart supporter of the deep American bonds with Cyprus, we must continue to support a peace process that ultimately allows the people of Cyprus to finally celebrate Independence Day in a reunified country, as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
“The U.S.-Cypriot relationship has grown even stronger over the years, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. We have solidified a key partnership of democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean, increased our cooperation in energy and defense, and bolstered joint efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. I am deeply grateful for the many contributions of the Cypriot community here in the United States in helping deepen the bond between our nations.
”I wish the people of the Republic of Cyprus a joyous Independence Day as they mark this important anniversary.”
Menendez honored in Cyprus
Cyrpus’ President Nicos Anastasiades presented Menendez with the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III during a ceremony at the presidential palace in August. The Grand Cross is one of six grades of the Order of Makarios III – the highest order of merit awarded by the Republic of Cyprus.
During the ceremony, the Senator said Cyprus was “a special place”.
“I look at what this great Republic has done for its people, and I look at the other side of the other green line and I say what an incredibly lost opportunity for the people of the north,” he said.
“If the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots were left to their own negotiations then they could find a pathway forward for the reunification,” he added.