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US only recognises Republic of Cyprus, State Department official says
2006-06-09 14:15:58

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

Washington, Jun 9 (CNA) - The US will not recognise any government other than the Republic of Cyprus on the island, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried has stressed.

To read Mr. Fried's full remarks, click here.

Speaking at the official dinner of the 17th annual Cyprus Conference, organised by the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Council of Hellenes (SAE), he also stressed that the American policy on Cyprus ''has been, is now, and shall remain clear and consistent'' in supporting ''a settlement establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which will reunify Cyprus and its two communities into one country.''

''We support and will continue to help energise and guide the UN process to reconcile differences and find common ground leading to a final settlement,'' he said.

''And let me stress to you unequivocally: We do not and will not recognise any government other than the Republic of Cyprus on the island of Cyprus. We are clear about this - none of our policies are aimed at or imply 'creeping recognition' of any other political entity. Cyprus is one country. We have, and will have, only one Embassy, one Ambassador,'' he said.

As regards the current situation in Cyprus, he said that both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots set forth essentially the same goal, namely a common identity and future as Cypriots in one country. ''We must not let this moment pass. The Republic of Cyprus has an opportunity now that, if lost, may not recur - to join its people together again as Cypriots in a united nation, not as opponents, but as partners. We would like both sides to consider the end state to which they aspire - a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federation - and work backwards on how to get there,'' he said.

''Reaching out to each other as Cypriots with a common goal is an important element in reunification. In this context, we strongly support and encourage the decision of the Republic of Cyprus to work with the Turkish Cypriots and the UN Secretary General's representative on the island to engage in technical talks, which will address important daily life issues while laying the groundwork for broader negotiations when settlement talks resume. The next step forward is to agree on an agenda for these talks. We urge both sides to look creatively at how to start these technical talks. We also hope that President Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Talat will be able to meet on the margins of the installation of the new third member of the Committee on Missing Persons in July,'' he said.

Regarding Turkey's European course, the US official noted that Turkey must fulfill its obligations to extend its Customs Union agreement with the EU to the Republic of Cyprus by opening its ports to Cypriot-registered ships and planes. ''Let me be clear: This is an obligation that Turkey has freely undertaken with the EU, and which it must fulfill if Ankara is to keep its EU accession process on track,'' he noted.

Referring to the Greek-American community, he thanked Senator Sarbanes, Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Lantos, for the substantial contributions to US foreign policy, which are ''both recognised and appreciated by all of us.''

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