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Cyprus Solution Has Become One of US Foreign Policy Priorities
2008-09-11 12:08:16

Nicosia, Sep 9 - Frank Urbancic, the new US Ambassador to Cyprus, assured on Tuesday that achieving a just and durable resolution of the Cyprus problem remains one of the foreign policy priorities of President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Presenting his credentials to President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, Mr. Urbancic said the US fully support the decision to pursue full-fledged negotiations under UN auspices in order to reach a Cyprus settlement that establishes a stable, bizonal bicommunal federation.

Receiving the credentials, President Christofias reiterated his determination to spare no effort to create conditions favorable to reaching a settlement within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, noting that, although the negotiating process will not be an easy affair, he remains optimistic that through these negotiations it will be possible to reach an agreed solution.

Presenting his credentials, the new Ambassador reaffirmed that ''achieving a just and durable resolution of the Cyprus problem remains one of President Bush and Secretary Rice's foreign policy priorities.''

''We fully support your decision to pursue full-fledged negotiations under UN auspices in order to reach a Cyprus settlement that establishes a stable, bizonal bicommunal federation. That is a task for the people of Cyprus themselves to accomplish, but the US will do all it can to support the conditions in which a settlement can be reached. To this end, we will continue to support bicommunal programs that increase mutual understanding between the two communities and address real problems that affect the daily lives of all Cypriots,'' he added.

Referring to bilateral relations, Mr. Urbancic said, ''our nations share common interests on a wide range of issues, we have common values and a shared commitment to building a world based on democratic principles and the rule of law.''

''Cyprus is a valued partner in the fight against the global threats of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, money laundering, illegal narcotics, and human trafficking. During my time in Cyprus, I will work closely with you to deepen these cooperative efforts,'' he added.

Mr. Urbancic stated that he looks forward ''to working with our public and private sectors to expand our trade and investment ties which will generate good jobs for Americans and Cypriots alike,'' adding that ''our two countries are drawn even closer by the thousands of Cypriot-Americans who live in the US and over 2,000 Cypriots who currently attend US colleges and universities.''

''I promise to cultivate these shared educational, cultural, economic, and social links and to help harness them in building a better future for the citizens of both our countries,'' he assured.

In response to Mr. Urbancic, President Christofias said ''Cyprus, working with many other nations including the US, has successfully assumed an important humanitarian role, exemplified by the evacuation of so many American citizens from Lebanon, during the last crisis.''

''We underscore Cyprus' cooperation with the US on important issues of international scale, such as the fight against the threat of terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking. Specific mention should be made to the Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreement, signed in 2005, following the US Proliferation Initiative, the first EU member state to have signed such an Agreement with the USA,'' he added.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said initiatives have been taken in order to put an end to the stalemate of the last few years and that ''these initiatives have already led to tangible results,'' with the commencement of direct negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side to reach a settlement.

''I take this opportunity to reiterate that I am determined to spare no effort to create conditions conducive to reaching a settlement and I stand ready to tackle possible obstacles that lie ahead with the necessary goodwill. At the same time, we expect a new conciliatory spirit from all interested parties and that everybody will respect our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,'' he said.

He added that ''a solution is only achievable within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as envisaged by the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements, with political equality as described in the relevant Security Council Resolutions, with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality.''

President Christofias pointed out that ''the negotiating process will not be an easy affair, nevertheless I remain optimistic that through these negotiations it will be possible to reach an agreed solution.''

''It is also of utmost importance to safeguard the basic principles which have accompanied us so far in this process, namely to reach an agreed solution under the good offices mission of the Secretary General of the UN without arbitration or artificial timetables. Every effort should be made by the international community to allow the Cypriots to retain ownership of the process and to achieve an outcome, which will be approved by the people in separate simultaneous referenda. This should be a Cypriot solution by the Cypriots and for the Cypriots,'' he said.

He noted that, ''given that Turkey is engaged in accession negotiations with the EU, we expect that the Union will exert its influence, so that Turkey fulfills its obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus, especially as regards Turkey's obligation to accept and implement a solution to the Cyprus problem in line with the principles upon which the Union is founded.''

President Christofias expressed gratitude for the interest that the US demonstrate with regard to the ongoing process and noted that ''we expect that it will exert all its influence towards Turkey so that this new initiative will lead to a lasting settlement on the basis of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the principles of international law.''

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