Boucher: US has not tried to sacrifice Cyprus
Nicosia, May 18 (CNA) – The United States has not attempted in any way to sacrifice Cyprus to improve relations with Turkey, US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said on Tuesday.
“The United States has not in any way tried to sacrifice Cyprus. We tried to help people in the Turkish community, the Turkish Cypriot community and the Greek Cypriot community achieve what they themselves have long pledged themselves to and wanted. And that is a united federal Cyprus”, the US diplomat said.
His comments came in response to remarks at a Congressional hearing on U.S.-Turkish relations that these ties are problematic and that the U.S. must find ways to appease the Turks at the political cost of Cyprus.
Boucher said that he did not think it was something that the US had put forward.
A portion of the State Department briefing for May 17 is below:
Q Mr. Boucher, two questions on Cyprus. According to sources, two of the U.S. congressmen who are going to visit illegally Cyprus on the Memorial weekend expressed a desire to buy property in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus. Could you please clarify the U.S. position on this illegal property transaction? Do you support or not support?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll get you the standard answer on that. I don't have it in my head.
Q And one more question. During the hearings in the Congress for the U.S.-Turkish relations of May 11, the basic argument expressed by all panels were that the U.S.-Turkish relationship is problematic, so the U.S. must find ways for appeasement of the Turks and win back the Turkish public opinion at the political cost, however, of Cyprus. How do you respond to this argument?
MR. BOUCHER: Where was this put forward, this theory?
Q It was in May 11 --
MR. BOUCHER: By whom?
Q May 11th in the Congress.
MR. BOUCHER: And did --
Q On the substantive role --
MR. BOUCHER: And who put forward this theory, that we had to somehow --
Q Excuse me?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't understand the question and I don't think the State Department's implicated here --
Q The question is --
MR. BOUCHER: Did we somehow put forward this theory? It doesn't sound like something that we have put forward.
Q No, no. The question -- all the panels were giving an emphasis to the fact that the relation between the two countries are problematic and should find a way, somehow, at the political expense of Cyprus. And I was wondering how do -- (inaudible) -- because they were congressmen --
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, it doesn't sound like a panel that included us, and I'll leave the views of others to themselves, but the United States has not seen --
Q But they are -- (inaudible) --
MR. BOUCHER: But the United States has not, in any way, tried to sacrifice Cyprus. We try to help people in the Turkish community -- Turkish Cypriot community and the Greek Cypriot community -- achieve what they themselves have long, long pledged themselves to; what they themselves have long, long said they wanted, and that is a united federal Cyprus.