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Clinton: US Will Support Cypriots Reach Their own Solution
2009-04-24 08:03:11

Washington, Apr 22 (CNA) - The US is going to do everything it can, to support the Cypriots reaching their own resolution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, responding to questions before the US Congress on Wednesday.

Secretary Clinton said the United States strongly supports a bizonal, bicommunal resolution to the Cyprus talks and recalled the two meetings she had recently with Cyprus FM Markos Kyprianou as well as her meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

“And we have told each side that we support their very diligent efforts, to try to resolve these matters, including security issues and troop presence. So we're going to do everything we can, to support the Cypriots reaching their own resolution. I think that previous efforts have unfortunately resulted in a feeling, by certainly the Greek Cypriots, that things were attempted to be imposed on them. And we want the parties to reach an agreement. And that's what we are supporting,” Ms. Clinton noted.

To a remark by Congressman Mike Bilirakis that the Annan plan failed because it contained provisions that prohibited Greek Cypriots from purchasing property in one-third of their own country and constitutionally established Turkish troops permanently on Cyprus, the US Secretary of State said that the Cyprus settlement must be agreed by the two parties themselves.

“We don't intend to impose anything. We intend to support, insofar as we are able, the negotiations between the parties for what we believe is the best outcome: a bizonal, bicommunal federation that would represent fairly the interests of both communities,” she clarified.

To a remark by Congressman McMahon, Secretary Clinton said that, “Cyprus is so strategically located, if this problem can be resolved in a way that is satisfactory to both communities and, as you say, bizonal, bicommunal agreement, I think the future for Cyprus is unlimited, economically and as a player in Europe and the Middle East.”

Following the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Thursday, Mr. Kyprianou welcomed the remarks by Secretary Clinton.

“Clinton's remarks reflect what the American administration acknowledges as mistakes of 2004, which must be avoided,” said Mr. Kyprianou, invited to comment on Clinton's remarks, adding that he believes that “the US has realized that the correct process is the one agreed on March 2008 (by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities) and they will support it.”

“Certainly everybody is in a hurry for a swift Cyprus solution,” Mr. Kyprianou, adding however that “they realize the complexity of the issue and the need for the process to remain within the agreed framework and the talks conducted between the two sides.”

Concluding, the Cypriot Foreign Minister said “we must wait and see” how the US will deal with the issue.

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