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President Clinton Letter to Congress on Cyprus, 97-04-29

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
April 29, 1997

Text Of A Letter From The President
To The Speaker Of The House Of Representatives
And The Chairman Of The
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
April 25, 1997

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

In accordance with Public Law 95-384 (22 U.S.C. 2373(c)), I submit to you this report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question. The previous submission covered progress through November 30, 1996. The current submission covers the period December 1, 1996, through January 31, 1997.

As I noted to you in my last report, we have been very concerned about the decision by the Government of Cyprus to purchase the Sa-10 anti-aircraft missile system and the resulting threats of a military strike by Turkey. The United States and its allies tried hard to persuade Cyprus that purchasing these missiles was a step leading away from negotiations, which remain the only way to solve the Cyprus problem. In the context of the already excessive levels of armaments on Cyprus and last summer's inter communal violence, the government's decision to go forward with the purchases was doubly regrettable. Additionally, I remain disappointed that the parties have not implemented alternative measures to reduce tensions along the cease-fire lines. Despite these clear setbacks, I believe the decision by Cyprus, at our urging, to defer importation of components of the Sa-10 system for 16 months is a step in the right direction and provides us with a window of opportunity to make progress in resolving the Cyprus issue.

As Secretary Albright noted at her confirmation hearings, the parties need to take further steps to reduce tensions and improve the climate for negotiations. The United States remains committed to promoting a Cyprus settlement but needs the full cooperation of the parties, including Greece and Turkey, to achieve our mutual goals. We continue to see that the only way forward is direct, good faith negotiations between the parties themselves. The United States will continue to work toward bringing these negotiations about.

Sincerely,

William J. Clinton

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