US committed to just and lasting Cyprus settlement

US committed to just and lasting Cyprus settlement

The United States remains committed to finding a just and lasting settlement reunifying Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, the State Department notes in a cover note containing a bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated solution of the Cyprus question for the period of August and September 2014.

US President Barrack Obama submits the bimonthly report every 60 days to Congress,. By way of presidential decree of July 31, 2003, the report is prepared by the Secretary of State.

Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield, who signs the cover letter, notes that “efforts toward a comprehensive solution continued during this reporting period, as the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots resumed UN-facilitated settlement negotiations”.

“The United States remains committed to finding a just and lasting settlement reunifying Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”, she notes.

The report refers to the appointment of former Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide as UN Secretary General`s Special Advisor on Cyprus on August 22, adding that the two leaders and negotiating teams “welcomed Eide`s appointment, as well as his efforts to re-energize the settlement talks during his first visit to the island September 5-8”.

During a subsequent September 16-19 visit of Eide in Cyprus the report continues “the leaders agreed to move to a more substantive phase in the talks and to consider Eide`s proposals to bridge gaps on the core issues”.

The report also refers to the separate meetings UN SG Ban Ki-moon had with both leaders on the margins of the UN General Assembly in late September and to the meetings of Kerry and US Vice President Joe Biden with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on September 21 and 26 respectively.

It further notes that Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland met with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides on September 23 and Turkish Cypriot negotiator at the time Kudret Ozersay on September 24.

The report further refers to the continued efforts of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos and Mufti Atalay who “continued to foster cooperation and understanding between the two communities in support of a settlement”.

“On September 7, religious services were held for the first time in 40 years at two churches in the north”, the report adds, whilst it also notes Atalay`s visit to mosques and islamic cemeteries in Paphos with the Archbishop on September 25.

Finally, the report also refers to US Ambassador`s in Nicosia John Koenig`s remarks on September 25 at the closing ceremony of two bi-communal projects which provided training for over 150 women funded by the State Department.

President Anastasiades suspended his participation in the UN-led peace talks following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October last year, as Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.

Repeated calls for the withdrawal of “Barbaros” went unheeded by Ankara, which announced recently the NAVTEX`s extension until April 6, 2015.

Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, in spite of numerous calls by the EU, which Ankara aspires to join, to do so and normalise relations with Nicosia.