- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Cyprus rebound

The Turkish-Cypriot representative in Washington rarely misses a chance to make his case whenever this column prints an item about the Greek-Cypriot government.

Osman Ertug of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) dispatched an e-mail to Embassy Row after he saw a piece about the departure of Miltos Miltiadou, spokesman for the Cypriot Embassy for the past 15 years.

Referring to a Sept. 3 item headlined “Cyprus bound,” Mr. Ertug offered Mr. Miltiadou “some thoughts for the road.”

He challenged Mr. Miltiadou on the usual points of dispute between ethnic Turks and ethnic Greeks on the divided Mediterranean island that has defied decades of diplomatic efforts to reunify the two communities. The Greek administration is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, while the TRNC is recognized only by Turkey, which has about 30,000 troops stationed there.

Greek-Cypriots call the Turkish troops occupiers, while, as Mr. Ertug reiterated, Turkish-Cypriots see them as protectors from a resurgence of the ethnic violence of the 1960s and 1970s.

“Northern Cyprus is not an ‘occupied area,’ at least not for the Turkish-Cypriots or for impartial third parties,” Mr. Ertug said, referring to the United States and the United Nations, which have never “described Northern Cyprus as ‘the occupied area’ in their official parlance.”

He also disputed Mr. Miltiadou’s recollection that Cyprus was “whole” when he traveled to the United States in 1970, first to study and then to serve as a Cypriot diplomat.

Mr. Ertug, who also came to the United States in 1970 to study, said that when he left, the “island was a shattered country with many Turkish-Cypriot enclaves besieged by mainland Greek and Greek-Cypriot forces.”

He said Turkish-Cypriots began to run their own affairs in the 1960s, although they did not declare a separate federated state until 1975.

From the 1960s, “Cyprus, for all intents and purposes, was no longer one, but two political entities or administrations,” Mr. Ertug said.

Leaving Nepal

The State Department, responding to an urgent request from the U.S. Embassy in Nepal, has authorized the immediate departure of the families of American diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers because of communist rebel attacks in the Himalayan kingdom.

Ambassador James Moriarty asked the State Department for the authorization after a bomb attack on the American cultural center in the capital, Katmandu. The blast, the first on a U.S. government facility in Nepal, caused property damage but no injuries.

About 40 family members and 84 Peace Corps volunteers are affected.

Threats in Kuwait

Kuwait ignored demands by Islamic groups that objected to the accreditation of a U.S. ambassador who served previously in Israel.

Ambassador Richard LeBaron, former deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv, arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday evening and plans to present his credentials shortly, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City said.

“He will present his credentials at an appointed time set in cooperation with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the embassy said.

The country’s four main Sunni and Shi’ite groups complained that Mr. LeBaron’s appointment was an insult to Kuwaiti and Palestinian Muslims.

“We demand that the Kuwaiti government refuse to grant accreditation to a new U.S. ambassador who is coming from Tel Aviv in appreciation of the feelings of Muslim Kuwaiti and Palestinian peoples,” they said in a joint statement in April, after the White House nominated Mr. LeBaron.

Kuwait is home to about 25,000 U.S. soldiers and is also the main transit point for American troops rotating in or out of Iraq.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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