No public comment by the State Department on Ambassador’s statements

No public comment by the State Department on Ambassador’s statements

Although the US Department of State is avoiding to publicly comment over recent remarks by US Ambassador John Koenig in Cyprus, the issue has been discussed between Cyprus` Ambassador in the US George Shiakallis and the Deputy Assistant Secretary Amanda Sloat. As CNA learns, the State Department disagrees both with the content and the timing of Koenig`s statements.

Koenig, who retires this August and is expected to be replaced soon, said during a public event on Tuesday evening, in Nicosia, that he personally does not regard the Cyprus issue as essentially a problem of invasion and occupation.

A State Department official told CNA that the US remains committed to supporting UN-facilitated efforts to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots.

The official further noted that “we commend Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders for addressing the underlying causes of the division of the island and seeking to rebuild trust”.

PSEKA President Philip Christopher said from his part that he spoke with a State Department official on the matter, who told him that Koenig`s statements do not reflect the State Department`s view and that they were going to issue a corrective statement.

On another issue, the State Department official was asked by CNA if there are any meetings arranged with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, and responded that there are no meetings to be announce at this time.

Akinci is expected to travel to the US next week, to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. UN – led talks aiming at reunifying the island under a federal roof resumed this month.