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House President Receives US delegation
2009-02-24 11:05:16

Nicosia, Feb 17 - President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian stressed the importance of the US contribution to efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Mr. Garoyian, who received Tuesday a US delegation comprising US Senator Richard Durbin, Illinois State Treasurer Alexis Giannoulias, counselors and members of their political bureaus, briefed the delegation about the current developments regarding the Cyprus issue and noted the importance of the US contribution to efforts for a political settlement.

According to an official press release, the House President noted the need to exert pressure on Turkey to change its stance and contribute constructively to a solution.

He stressed that the Greek Cypriot side adheres to a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality.

“The pursued solution,” he said, “must be viable, functional and must respect fully human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people of Cyprus and be in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the EU values and principles.”

The US officials held later on a meeting with Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou.

In statements after the meeting, Mr. Kyprianou said they discussed issues concerning Turkey’s EU accession course, EU – NATO relations, as well as bilateral ties and how they could be further enhanced.

Mr. Kyprianou noted that the US Senator is not on an official US government mission to Cyprus, but said that the Senator would inform US President Barack Obama about his visit.

He added that Senator Durbin is interested in the Cyprus issue and has been active as regards Cyprus in the Senate.

“We know his relations with President Obama. We believe it is reasonable to assume that he will inform him,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou told journalists Tuesday that the visit of the US delegation constitutes a great opportunity to inform US officials about the Cyprus problem.

“Their visit here is a very good opportunity to brief important people of the US political life on the Cyprus issue, the ongoing negotiations and the goals we pursue regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem,” he said.

The Spokesman added ''we can also inform them about what we think must be done in order to reach a solution, and what the international community can do to help our efforts.''

The US delegation also met with Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sotiris Sampson.

According to an official press release, the Cypriot MP briefed the US officials on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue and noted the good will demonstrated by the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table.

Referring to the enlightenment efforts abroad, aiming at informing foreigners about the situation in Cyprus, he said that the new US government could play an important role in this aspect as well, given its influence in bilateral and international relations.

On Monday at a working lunch in Nicosia offered by Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Averof Neofytou, Mr. Durbin said that when he returns to the US he will inform the new US government on the results of his visit to Cyprus and the positions the Cypriot officials have expressed.

Mr. Neofytou expressed his appreciation for the interest of Mr. Durbin and Mr. Giannoulias in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and briefed the US delegation on the recent developments.

During the working lunch, they exchanged views on various issues of mutual concern and of international interest.

According to an official press release, the working lunch was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Committee Sotiris Sampson, and MPs Skevi Koukouma, Nicos Kleanthous and Demetris Syllouris. US Ambassador in Nicosia Frank Urbancic, Andy Manatos, President of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, and Honorary President of the World Council of Hellenes Andrew Athens also attended the working lunch.

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