New US Ambassador presents credentials
Nicosia, Aug 29 (CNA) - Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides emphatically
said here Thursday that the government would not accept any proposals,
which would be tantamount to legalising the invasion and occupation of
Cyprus and would violate the human rights of all Cypriots.
He was speaking during the presentation of the credentials of the new US
ambassador to Cyprus, Michael Klosson, who conveyed the US commitment
to promote a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus, suggesting, however,
that "tough choices must be made".
Presenting his credentials, Klosson noted that as Cyprus faces an "auspicious and historic moment, an unprecedented chance for a brighter future for Cypriots across the island", the US has "long believed that a just, durable and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem is possible and would present many benefits to Cyprus and its people".
Pointing out that a settlement would "bring peace and stability to the region", Klosson said "I am committed, as part of the US team, to make every effort to promote a bizonal, bicommunal settlement that meets the legitimate interests of both sides. I am eager to begin this work and stand ready to support the UN Secretary-General and his Good Offices mission. However", he added, "tough choices must be made and time is not unlimited. Such an opportunity must be handled with all possible urgency".|
The new ambassador said he also looks forward to "continuing to support opportunities that allow Cypriots from both sides of the island to come together and prepare for their common future", adding that by "establishing personal and professional connections, these programmes will ensure that a settlement will be welcomed and take root".
Klosson said relations between the two countries are on a "sound and positive footing" with numerous economic, education and people-to-people ties drawing us together" and pledged to strengthen cooperation on a broad range of issues, including counter-terrorism, law enforcement and promoting business opportunities.
Noting he is in Cyprus before the one-year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11 in the US, Klosson said he especially appreciates the cooperation and support Cyprus continues to show in the international fight against terrorism, adding that State Department and Congress officials whom he met had praised Cyprus' contributions to making the world a safer place, more peaceful place for everyone.
Receiving his credentials, President Clerides referred to the Cyprus problem and the tragic consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the island's northern third. He stressed "we are expecting that the international community, and especially the government of the USA, with its leading role in the international scene, will exert the necessary influence on Turkey."
Pointing out that the government appreciates the commitment of President George Bush to contribute effectively in finding a mutually acceptable and just solution, the Cypriot President noted the Turkish side has not shown any signs of abandoning its intransigent positions.
"We are ready and willing to negotiate a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem within the parameters contained in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. However, we wish to declare emphatically that we will not accept any proposals which would be tantamount to legalising the illegal and destructive invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkish forces since 1974 and would violate the human rights of all Cypriots", Clerides added.
Clerides said Cyprus' accession to the EU, to be decided in the Copenhagen EU summit, "opens a unique window of opportunity to resolve the long standing Cyprus problem, provided that the Turkish side demonstrates the necessary will for a historical compromise on Cyprus".
"The people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, deserve a better future than their present and past and this can only be achieved through a just and workable settlement of the Cyprus problem in a united island as full member of the EU", he said.
President Clerides said he looks forward to working with the new ambassador to promote bilateral relations, which are at a "very high level" with the US being one of the leading exporters of goods to the island.
He referred to the close cooperation between the competent authorities of both countries in combating drug trafficking, money laundering and international terrorism, adding that the agreement for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which will enter into force shortly, as well as the 1999 Extradition of Fugitives agreement, "provide a legal framework for deepening and intensifying the existing cooperation of Cyprus and the USA in criminal matters.