US official holds contacts in Cyprus
Nicosia, Jul 17 (CNA) -- Matthew Bryza, US State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, who is paying a four-day visit to Cyprus, had here Monday a series of contacts with Cypriot Foreign Ministry officials, Cyprus House President, and the leader of the main Greek Cypriot opposition party, during which he was briefed on the Greek Cypriot side's views and positions on the Cyprus problem.
Bryza, who arrived in Cyprus after visiting Ankara and Athens, met with Foreign Ministry's Permanent Secretary Sotos Zakheos and Director of the Cyprus problem division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoulli. Later he had separate meetings with House President Demetris Christofias and main opposition party, DISI President Nicos Anastasiades. Bryza will have Tuesday meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leadership and will hold a press conference.
In statements after meeting Bryza, Christofias said that the US official told him that US President George W. Bush has given him strict instructions that the Greek Cypriots will, as expressed at the April 2004 referendum on the Annan plan, must be respected and that a solution to the Cyprus question on the basis of a bi-communal bi-zonal federation should be promoted and not a solution on the basis of a confederation.
Christofias also said that Bryza assured him that there is no issue of imposing the Annan plan or punishing the Greek Cypriots for rejecting the plan, as far as the US is concerned.
''I wish that from now on the policy of the USA will be the one outlined by Bryza,'' Christofias said, adding that Bryza pointed out that ''some elements of the Annan plan may be used during the talks but there is no issue of imposing the Annan plan as it is.''
In statements after his meeting with Bryza, Anastasiades said the Americans are concerned to find ways ''how to overcome the problems we are facing in Cyprus and the problems Turkey is facing with its European course.''
Anastasiades said that the US administration is concerned with finding a solution which would satisfy all sides and a solution to the problems regarding Turkey's obligations towards the EU, as well as for the so-called ''isolation'' of the Turkish Cypriots.
''I am satisfied from Bryza's positions and let us hope that they (the Americans) will do, as they promise, everything possible, so that there will be some positive steps in the near future,'' Anastasiades said.
The Cypriot opposition party leader added that Bryza ''categorically said that the US will never promote a solution other than the reunification of Cyprus, under a federal status.''