WASHINGTON - Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington March 30 as U.S. Greek groups seek to prevent the visit from taking place.
Talat is expected to arrive in Washington on March 29 and have talks with Clinton the next day, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. The invitation for the visit has come from the U.S. State Department, they said. Deeply annoyed, 11 leaders of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, or CEH, sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden "to reverse the decision," according to U.S. Greek paper Greek News.
They urged Obama and Biden "to intervene" before the visit causes the United States "problems that will take years to correct."
"Pursuing anything that suggests de facto recognition of the occupation regime would not only be contrary to countless U.N. Security Council resolutions, but it would perhaps force the Republic of Cyprus to reconsider its stance with regard to Turkey and the European Union," the U.S. Greek leaders said.
"Please overturn these misguided actions by people in your administration," they said.
Talat met with former secretary of state Colin Powell in Washington in 2004 in the wake of a failed U.N.-backed reunification referendum in Cyprus. In the April 2004 referendum, most Turkish Cypriots voted for reunification under a U.N. plan, while a vast majority of Greek Cypriots rejected the plan.
If it takes place, the Talat-Clinton meeting will come about a week before Obama's planned visit to Turkey.
During a visit to Ankara earlier this month, Clinton called for the lifting of an international economic embargo on Turkish Cypriots.
Biden, in his years as a prominent senator before becoming vice president, had supported the Greek position in numerous cases.