New Ambassador of Cyprus to US presents his credentials to President Bush
Washington, DC, Dec 8 - Mr. Andreas S. Kakouris presented his credentials to President George W. Bush as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States of America, during a ceremony at the White House on Friday, December 8, 2006.
Addressing President Bush, Ambassador Kakouris reaffirmed “the importance given to further developing the relations, the co-operation and the friendship between our two countries and people.”
The Ambassador added that: “In our common efforts to address threats to international peace and security, excellent cooperation exists between our governments in combating proliferation and the threat of terrorism, narcotics and other forms of international crime. Our commitment as a valued partner has been underscored once again last year, when Cyprus became the first EU Member State to join the Proliferation Security Initiative.”
Referring to the continued Turkish occupation and the division of the island, the Ambassador underlined the commitment of President Papadopoulos to a negotiated settlement. He added that: “The Government will continue to work constructively to achieve a viable, comprehensive settlement that reunifies Cyprus, its people, its territory, its society as well as its economy and institutions in a functional, bizonal, bicommunal federation; a settlement that will take into consideration the legitimate concerns of both communities in Cyprus.”
Referring to the current UN efforts, the Ambassador noted that these aimed “at the careful preparation for future negotiations and revolve around launching the process that was agreed during the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Secretary-General Annan last February in Paris,” adding that implementation of the subsequent agreement reached on July 8th, in Nicosia, is the way forward.
On EU-Turkey relations, the Ambassador noted that these are at a critical juncture. He stressed that Cyprus’ support of Turkey’s European orientation had been demonstrated and added: “Cyprus will continue to be supportive, provided that Turkey fulfils the contractual obligations it has undertaken toward the European Union as a whole, including the Republic of Cyprus.”
In extending a warm welcome to Ambassador Kakouris, President Bush stated, inter alia, that “The United States and Cyprus enjoy a strong and productive relationship” adding that: “Official cooperation between our two governments is exemplary.”
The President remarked that: “Our people are linked through the heritage of immigration, a vibrant Hellenic-American community, and ongoing educational exchanges. He also stated that the US and Cyprus “share an interest in protecting the rich and important cultural heritage of Cyprus.”
The American President also expressed appreciation that in July 2005, Cyprus was the first EU member state to sign a Ship Boarding Agreement with the United States under the Proliferation Security Initiative. The President added that: “Our deepening partnership and friendship on many matters was reflected in the warm and generous assistance that Cypriots from all walks of life gave to over 14,000 Americans departing Lebanon last summer. For that assistance offered to our fellow citizens, the American people are deeply grateful.”
On the Cyprus problem, the President said: “The United States has long believed that achieving a just and lasting settlement on Cyprus is vital for our two countries and for the security of the region.” He added that: “Cyprus has remained divided for too long” and that the United States continues “to support the efforts of the United Nations to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Such a negotiated settlement would benefit all Cypriots and further regional stability and cooperation.”