Greek and Cypriot Americans briefed by Sloat on Kerry’s visits to Greece and Cyprus

Greek and Cypriot Americans briefed by Sloat on Kerry’s visits to Greece and Cyprus

Representatives of major Greek-American and Cypriot-American organizations were briefed on Wednesday through a teleconference by US Deputy Assistant Secretary Amanda Sloat on the recent visits by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Greece and Cyprus.

In statements to the media, the International Coordinating Committee Justice For Cyprus” (PSEKA) Philip Christopher expressed satisfaction about the briefing, noting that the Americans are optimistic after the visit to Cyprus, during which Kerry had meetings with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

He noted that the Americans are excited by the momentum at the ongoing negotiations between Anastasiades and Akinci, however Sloat made it clear that there is no agreement on the three core issues, namely territory, properties and guarantees.

The members of the organizations asked Sloat several questions mainly regarding Turkey`s stance. “We have been told that their optimism stems mainly by the fact that Turkey has given permission for excavations to areas where persons missing since the invasion are believed to be buried. We reacted on this because Turkey needs to take more actions,” Christopher noted.

He added that the Americans defended Turkey`s stance, by saying that the country has been carrying the burden of 2.4 million Syrian refugees.

Christopher noted that they made it clear to Sloat that “we will not support a settlement that will not safeguard the same rights which we enjoy as US citizens. She seemed to understand this,” he added.

Furthermore, he said that they raised the fact that Kerry did not make any reference in his statements in Cyprus, to the bilateral relations between Cyprus and the US and to Cyprus` role in the region. He noted that Sloat said that Cyprus constitutes a strategic partner on which the US relies and that Kerry told so to Anastasiades and Kasoulides during their meetings, even though he did not say it during his public statements.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May this year, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.