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2002-08-30 14:40:56

The President of the Republic, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, today (August 29, 2002) received at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace the credentials of the new Ambassador of the United States, Mr. Michael Klosson.Presenting his credentials Mr. Klosson said:

?Mr. President, I am honored today to present my credentials, and to represent the President and people of the United States of America to the Republic of Cyprus. I am arriving on Cyprus at a moment of great change in the world. This is a time of tremendous challenge, but also of tremendous opportunity. The international community has before it new possibilities for cooperation and the exchange of ideas. The 21st century can be one of hope and prosperity for all, as freedom progresses and unleashes the creative power of each individual.

Cyprus itself faces an auspicious and historic moment ? an unprecedented chance for a brighter future for Cypriots across the island. I feel the weight of my responsibilities as I assume the duties of U.S. Ambassador.

The United States 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. A settlement would bring peace and stability to the region. The UN Secretary General and his Special Advisor also recognize the crucial part that the United Nations can play in achieving this goal.

I am committed, as part of the U.S. 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, tough choices must be made and time is not unlimited. Such an opportunity must be handled with all possible urgency.

Besides working with the leaders of the two communities here and the international community, I also look forward to continuing to support opportunities that allow Cypriots from both sides of the Island to come together and prepare for their common future. By establishing personal and professional connections, these programs will ensure that a settlement will be welcomed and take root.

Thanks to my able predecessors, U.S. relations with Cyprus are on a sound and positive footing. There are numerous economic, education and people-to-people ties drawing us together. I look forward to strengthening our cooperation on a broad range of issues including counter-terrorism, law enforcement, and promoting business opportunities.

Arriving as I am just before the one-year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, I especially appreciate the cooperation and support Cyprus continues to show in the international fight against terrorism. While in Washington, I met with officials in the Department of State and Congress, many of whom praised the contributions of Cyprus to making the world a safer, more peaceful place for everyone.

Mr. President, I look forward to working closely with the Republic of Cyprus on all of these issues. It will be a privilege for me and my Embassy colleagues to work with your government as we face these challenges and opportunities together?.

Replying the President of the Republic said: ?It is a great pleasure for me to accept your Letters of Credence as the new Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Cyprus. I look forward to working closely with you and your Government for the promotion of our bilateral relations to the mutual benefit of our countries and our peoples.

Cyprus and the United States of America enjoy excellent relations and share common values and ideals, notably the rule of law, the respect of human rights and individual freedoms, strong commitment to democracy and to the safeguarding of international peace and security.

Thousands of Cypriots have emigrated to the USA and have honored their welcome by becoming active and law-abiding citizens and in this way good ambassadors of Cyprus in your country. Also thousands of Cypriots, having studied in American universities, returned to Cyprus, well-qualified and educated, to contribute to the economic and social development of their country.

With regard to our bilateral relations, I am glad to say they are at a very high level. The USA is one of the leading exporters of goods to Cyprus and there is close cooperation between the competent authorities of both countries in combating drug trafficking, money laundering and international terrorism, especially after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

IN 1999 the Agreement for Extradition of Fugitives entered into force between Cyprus and the USA whereas the Agreement for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters will shortly enter into force by the exchange of the relevant instruments of ratification. These two Agreements provide a legal framework for deepening and intensifying the existing cooperation of Cyprus and the USA in criminal matters.

Mr. Ambassador,

Cyprus and its people are still suffering from the tragic consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion, the subsequent partition of the island and the falts accomplis which were imposed by the occupying power through the illegal use of military force.

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 so as to show the political will to negotiate a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single and undivided sovereignty and a single international personality, as provided for by the relevant Security Council Resolutions.

We recognize and appreciate the commitment of President Bush to contribute effectively to the finding of a mutually acceptable and just solution which will end the division of the island and promote peace and stability in the region.

Unfortunately until now the Turkish side has shown no signs of abandoning its intransigent positions which disregard the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979 and all the relevant UN resolutions.

We are ready and willing to negotiate a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem within the parameters contained in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. However we wish to declare emphatically that we will not accept any proposals which would be tantamount to legalizing the illegal and destructive invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkish forces since 1974 and would violate the human rights of all Cypriots.

In this context, I would like to emphasize that Cyprus? accession to the European Union, which will be decided in December in Copenhagen, 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 functional settlement of the Cyprus problem in a united island as full member of the European Union.

Finally, I kindly request you to convey to President Bush and to the people of your country a message of friendship, goodwill and cooperation from the Government and the people of Cyprus.

I wish you, Your Excellency, success in the execution of your duties.?

Present at the ceremony were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, the Deputy Minister to the President, Mr. Pantelis Kouros, the Chief of Protocol, Mr. Nearchos Palas, the Deputy Chief of Protocol, Mr. Panicos Kyriacou and the Director of the President?s Office, Mr. Christos Patsalides.

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