31st July 2002
Ó Snodaigh disappointed at failure of Committee to support motion reiterating Ireland's opposition to illegal occupation of Cyprus by Turkey
Sinn Fein spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has expressed his disappointment at the failure of members of the select Committee on European Affairs to support a motion reiterating Irish opposition to the illegal occupation and partition of Cyrus. Speaking after the meeting of the Committee in Leinster House today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
``I am very disappointed that members of the Committee thought it necessary to introduce a motion, which by its very nature negated my motion. While no-one could have any problems with endorsing moves towards a peaceful resolution of the situation in Cyprus the Committee have failed to appreciate and deal with the reasons I brought this motion forward in the first place.
``I brought this motion in response to the understandable protest by the Cypriot Ambassador last week. Given that insensitive and inappropriate unilateral actions of some members of the Oireachtas prompted this official protest, I believed it was necessary for this Committee to not only remind ourselves of Ireland's official position on the occupation, but to formally restate that position clearly and unambiguously for the public record.
``I reminded the members of the Committee that Turkey has illegally occupied northern Cyprus since 1974. And that 6,000 people - including 4,000 civilians - were killed in the conflict. 200,000 people were forced from their homes. Human rights violations have been cited by all major human rights organisations. And since the invasion, the United Nations, the EU, and Ireland have all refused to recognise Turkish-occupied Cyprus as a separate or legitimate state.
``It has been the policy of successive Irish governments to oppose the occupation of Cypriot territory and to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Cyprus. Along with the UN and our EU partners, Ireland is opposed to any effort to partition Cyprus and does not recognise the so-called ``Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'' as a state. We have long regarded the government based in Nicosia as the sole legitimate government. We have fully supported the efforts of the United Nations to achieve a political solution, are fully committed to supporting the UN talks process, and recognise that any eventual settlement must reflect existing UN resolutions and decisions on the Cyprus question.
``Documents from the UN Security Council and two recent statements by the Security Council President indicate that the Turkish Cypriot approach has been characterised by intransigence and less than full cooperation, and that this has hindered progress in negotiations.
``It was wrong for members of the Oireachtas to visit Turkish occupied Cyprus and I believe it was wrong for the select Committee to ignore this fact, which is completely at odds with our stated position on that occupation.'' ENDS
Motion to Select Committee on European Affairs:
``THAT this Committee reiterates Irish opposition to the illegal occupation and partition of Cyprus by Turkey which began 28 years ago. We express our view that Turkey should not be admitted to membership of the European Union while the question of the unity and self-determination of Cyprus remains unresolved.''
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