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New US Ambassador to Nicosia pledges to work for a just, lasting settlement that both sides can endorse
2005-12-20 14:21:08

Nicosia, Dec 20 – US support to a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem, establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation remains steadfast, new US Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher has assured while presenting his credentials to Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.

Mr. Schlicher also said that the US “stands ready to do everything we can to facilitate agreement on a plan that clear majorities on both sides can endorse and embrace as their own”.

Noting that “advancing the prospects for a settlement to Cyprus’ longstanding and unacceptable division” is one of his highest priorities, the Ambassador noted that “UN leadership is irreplaceable and must remain central to any new effort to reach agreement on a settlement plan”.

As regards the relations between the two countries, Mr. Schlicher said that Cyprus is a friend to the United States and an ally in the Global War on Terrorism adding that “our relationship is based on mutual respect common values and shared goals”.

“Cyprus was the first EU member state to sign a shipboarding agreement with the US under the auspices of the Proliferation Security Initiative, paving the way for further agreements with other member states”, said Mr. Schlicher, stressing that this would not have been possible without the personal commitment of President Papadopoulos.

Recieving the credentials, the President reaffirmed the government's commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution of the Cyprus problem, noting that such a solution must be achieved within the UN framework, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and in line with the principles on which the European Union is founded.

He also said that ''the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union and the commencement of accession negotiations with Turkey will act as a catalyst in the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.''

''The Republic of Cyprus is extremely sensitive to any action or attitude by any government more so by friendly governments which, symbolically or otherwise, encourage the policy of upgrading the secessionist regime in the occupied area, which also proves to be a counter-incentive to a solution of the Cyprus problem,'' he stressed.

The President also noted that despite tireless efforts throughout the years to reach a functional and viable settlement, the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.

He then stressed that the Turkish military occupation of part of the country and Turkey's divisive policies in Cyprus continue unabated and that during the present phase Turkey seeks the ''upgrading'' of its illegal subordinate local administration to that of a separate legal entity or ''state'', short of diplomatic recognition.

However, he added, this cannot overwrite that Turkey's occupation of the Republic of Cyprus continues and that Turkey is violating international law and several United Nations Security Council Resolutions, as well as the April 2003 Accession Treaty with the EU.

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