The award given to US Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican Senator Marco Rubio by the International Coordinating Committee–Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) during its recent Congress has greatly surprised us.
I want to make it clear that we greatly appreciate the support Mr. Menendez shows to Cyprus and the struggle we are waging for liberation and reunification. The award was not given for this purpose. He was honored for the Bill he is promoting to the US Senate, together with Mr. Rubio, for the lifting of the arms embargo.
The deception which the government, and more specifically the Foreign Minister, is engaging in on a number of issues is revealed here in all its magnitude, issues which also include this specific Bill.
What does the Bill provide for? It states the self-evident. That is to say, that the Republic of Cyprus shouldn’t have been punished by the United States because of the Turkish invasion. And of course, it vindicates Cyprus on a subject that we all understand does not constitute a priority for the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus’ priority right now shouldn’t be to change all its military equipment and replace it with weapons from NATO member states, as a priority from the United States themselves.
I want to make it clear from the very outset, because the US Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US State Department Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs is currently here in Cyprus that we are not against the upgrading of Cyprus’ relations with the United States.
However, this cannot be done at the expense of Cyprus or to the detriment of our relations with any other countries. I therefore regret to point out that this specific Bill does not only provide for the lifting of the embargo on the sale of arms. As I said previously, it demands from us that we should replace Cyprus’ existing equipment with NATO equipment. That is to say, we should spend several billions of Euros, which we don’t have.
The second thing this Bill does is to tie up Cyprus to the machine of the United States. At a time when conflicts in our wider region between the powerful Powers are intense, there is a danger that these confrontations will be transferred to Cyprus too. The bill demands the removal of the interests of other countries from Cyprus, such as Russia, China and others who have supported us economically over the last few years, but also supported us politically in relation to the Cyprus problem.
Both the government and the Foreign Minister are lying when they say that this upgrading of relations with the United States is not being attempted to the detriment of our relations with any other country.
This bill is attempting to tie us up to the machine of NATO, something that we consider unacceptable. It will put us at the centre of confrontations that will be extremely counter-productive for our country and for the people of Cyprus.
An attempt is underway to convey a message that the reason why these are listed in the bill is for illegal activities to be removed from Cyprus, money laundering, etc. I want to clarify that AKEL wants to be a protagonist and lead the way in the fight against interwoven interests and corruption. Furthermore, we are ready to cooperate with anyone who wants to move in the correct direction, namely to stamp out money laundering, in the direction of combating interwoven interests and corruption.
The Russians aren’t the only ones who are involved in phenomena relating to interwoven interests and corruption, but others as well from many other countries. We have some recent examples to cite: A Lebanese to whom the government has granted a passport, as well as a Kenyan to whom the government has also granted a passport, stand accused.
Therefore, these matters cannot be handled in selective way. For that reason, we want and demand that the government informs us fully and in detail about what this bill contains and not mislead the people of Cyprus with lies.