Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis to Washington, D.C
Thursday, December 22, 2011 –
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis traveled to Washington, D.C. on December 19 – December 21, where she met with Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, addressed prominent D.C. based think tanks and met with members of Congress, representatives of the Jewish, Greek and Cypriot-American leadership, as well as Washington based journalists and international relations scholars.
The Minister met with Secretary Clinton on Tuesday, December 20, at the U.S. Department of State, where Dr. Marcoullis informed Secretary Clinton about the latest developments in the current phase of the talks on the Cyprus problem. During the discussion, Secretary Clinton reiterated the U.S. support for the U.N-led negotiations, while the two also expressed the hope that the process for reaching a solution to reunify the island, will produce a lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Also discussed were Turkey’s threats against the Republic of Cyprus regarding the exercise by the Republic of Cyprus of its sovereign rights to explore and extract hydrocarbons within its Exclusive Economic Zone. The discussion reflected U.S. support for Cyprus’ right to explore and exploit its natural resources within its EEZ. Special significance was attached to the prospects of cooperation that lie ahead for Cyprus and the United States, as well as regional cooperation with regards to energy. Finally, the two parties reviewed bilateral relations and while expressing satisfaction with their high level, reaffirmed their commitment to work for strengthening and widening them further. Issues of international interest were also discussed, with main emphasis on the developments in the Middle East and issues that fall within the competence of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of 2012. The 45 minute meeting was conducted in a very positive, constructive and friendly atmosphere.
Later in the day, Minister Marcoullis gave a talk at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, entitled “Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean: Strategic location, strategic opportunities”. In her address, Dr. Marcoullis highlighted the strategic role of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, stressing the prospects for Cyprus and the neighboring countries as a result of the important developments in exploration and future exploitation of natural gas in its Exclusive Economic Zone. The Minister noted that such developments in the energy sector will contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and further afield.
Moreover, Dr. Marcoullis had separate meetings with the Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and the Ranking Member of the committee, Congressman Howard Berman. She also met with the leadership of the Community in the United States, with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and with the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Dr. Marcoullis concluded her three day visit to Washington yesterday with a special round-table discussion at the European Institute centering on “Europe’s Role in a Changing Global Environment: A Cypriot Perspective”, a presentation at the National Press Club, interviews to a number of digital and print media, including important U.S. publications such as the Associated Press, Newsweek and the Washington Times.