New Cypriot Ambassador presents his credentials to Bush
Mr. Euripides L. Evriviades presented his credentials to President George W. Bush as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States of America, during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, December 4, 2003.
Addressing president Bush, ambassador Evriviades conveyed on behalf of the president and the people of Cyprus ?our desire to further strengthen and solidify the cooperation and friendship between our countries,? as well as ?heartfelt cordial greetings and best wishes? to the American people.
The ambassador assured president Bush that ?Cyprus continues to stand in solidarity with the United States following the dastardly and callous attacks of 9/11,? and paid ?tribute to the American people for the dignity with which they have faced this tragedy under your leadership.? He emphasized that Cyprus consistently complements the efforts of the United States against terrorism, adding that ?promoting stronger counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation,? will be a top priority during his tenure in Washington.
Referring to the UN efforts to reach a settlement that would end the forcible division of Cyprus imposed by Turkey?s military occupation since 1974, the ambassador told president Bush that the people of Cyprus ?are heartened by your personal assurances to press for a solution that will reunify our country and its people,? so that a reunited Cyprus can join the European Union in May 2004.
The search for a negotiated settlement on Cyprus based on the plan submitted by the UN Secretary General remains the top priority of the Cyprus government, said the ambassador. He added that a ?comprehensive, just, viable and functional solution can and should be found,? before Cyprus joins the European Union.
Mr. Evriviades noted that the ?process of accession of Cyprus has already impacted positively? on the island, explaining also that Cyprus? ?entry into the European Union ushers in new vistas of cooperation with enormous potential to further enhance our bilateral and multilateral relations.? Given ?Cyprus? unique vantage point at the crossroads of three continents,? he said, our country will play ?a more significant role in the wider region as a result of its membership in the European Union.?
In extending a warm welcome to ambassador Evriviades, president Bush emphasized that ?The United States and Cyprus enjoy a deep and productive relationship,? adding that the ?official cooperation between our two governments is excellent.? He further stated that ?the United States appreciates Cyprus? strong cooperation in counter-terrorism since September 11, and our strong partnership and friendship on many other matters important to all of us.?
In congratulating Cyprus on its upcoming accession to the European Union, the U.S. president pointed out that it ?will provide new opportunities and guarantee a more secure future for the Cypriot people.?
The American leader reiterated the U.S. position that ?it is important to achieve a just and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem, because it would benefit both sides on Cyprus and the region.? He added that ?there is now a real window of opportunity to reach a settlement before Cyprus joins the European Union. We must not let that window close.? President Bush pledged that the United States ?will remain strongly engaged,? in the efforts toward a solution, expressing his belief that ?it is possible to reach a settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of both sides and promotes regional stability.?
Noting that the framework for Cyprus proposed by the UN Secretary General in November, 2002 is ?the best and only way forward to a comprehensive, viable settlement,? president Bush told the ambassador that ?significant progress was made until last March towards finalizing this plan, thanks in large part to the efforts of your government.? He went on to say that ?we hope all parties will express the political will as required by the UN Secretary General and return to negotiations based on the Annan plan very soon.?
The leader of the Turkish Cypriot community backed by Turkey, last March at The Hague, rejected the framework presented by the UN Secretary General to end the 29-year-old division of Cyprus imposed by Turkey?s military occupation of nearly forty percent of the Republic?s sovereign territory.
Following that disappointing development, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has declared repeatedly his determination to push the peace process forward, and expressed time and again his readiness to resume negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan at any time and any place the UN Secretary General reconvenes the process.