US: no recognition policy change on Cyprus
Washington, Jan 28 (CNA) -- US policy of recognising the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus has not changed and Washington has no intention to undermine the legal sovereignty of the Republic, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said.
He also said that Washington believes that property issues need to be settled in the context of a final agreement on the question of Cyprus.
''We have always felt that the questions of property are duly and appropriately handled in the negotiation. There's certainly many questions of property that are dealt with in the Annan plan and we support the Annan plan,'' Boucher said, responding to questions.
''Property issues are, of course, important, but as I said before, they need to be dealt with in the context of a final agreement,'' he added.
Responding to questions on a possible shift in US policy with regard to the recognition of the government of Cyprus, Boucher stressed that ''we recognize the government of the Republic of Cyprus. We are not changing that question of recognition, nor have we been asked to change that question -- that issue of recognition.''
''The steps that we intend to take to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, steps that we have taken and are taking, do not in any way change that recognition policy,'' he added.
Responding to press remarks, Boucher noted that this was what Assistant Secretary Paul Kelly said in a letter to a number of members of the US Congress.
''That is entirely consistent with what I have told to you here 1,001 times and what we will tell you tomorrow,'' he added.
Kelly, Assistant Secretary for legislative affairs, said in his letter that ''there has been no change in our policy of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus as the government of Cyprus, nor is there any intent to undermine the legitimate and legal sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.''
Kelly's letter was in response to a letter regarding the illegal airports in Turkish occupied Cyprus. Recent reports have suggested that efforts are underway from the US to introduce direct flights to and from these airports, which have been declared illegal ports of entry following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Kelly referred to a visit by two US Tranmsportation Security Afministration staff to the illegal airport in the Turkish occupied village of Tymbou in October last year. He said it was "a liaison visit to conduct a general review of the aviation security and was fully consistent with TSA's mandate to promote international aviation security. It was not an inspection."
He explained that "the TSA visit was made at State Departnmanet behest and funding."
Kelly assured that "the US will not take any action contrary to international civil aviation law, including our obligations under the Chicago Convention."
He added that "our efforts are directed solely at helping to reach a comperehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, so that all Cypriots can live together peacefully on a reunified island."