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Kerry commits US support to bicommunal federal solution in Cyprus

13 May, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Tuesday his country is very supportive of efforts for a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution in Cyprus.

In his remarks, Kerry reminded that he met Kasoulides last May and the two had “been talking and working on the issue of trying to find peace for Cyprus, a reunification of the island on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation policy”.
He said Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the Foreign Minister have taken leadership in trying to bring a long sought-after resolution to this and “we are privileged to work with them in that effort”, stressing “we are very supportive of this initiative. So we have a lot to talk about today, and I want to impress on everybody our respect for and gratitude for the leadership that is currently being provided by the current administration, and we look forward to continuing to work with them”.
Kerry said he hoped “to be in Nicosia and perhaps in Athens somewhere in the next weeks if not early months”, adding: “ We`ve been talking about a visit for some time”.
The US Secretary of State said “we want to try to be helpful in this process”. He said “there are exciting things happening, and we respect and appreciate Cyprus` efforts to work on a number of different fronts.”

Most importantly, he added, “Cyprus has been really helpful a partner, strategic partner, in a number of initiatives and most importantly, with respect to Syria, the removal of chemical weapons. That leadership, that partnership is absolutely critical to all of us”.
He further remarked that there are “new economic opportunities in the energy sector, looking at Cyprus”, referring to the hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone.
On his part, Kasoulides thanked Secretary Kerry and the US administration for their assistance and their interest for a solution.
He said “a lot of things are happening in the world, particularly in Europe, with Ukraine, but also in our region, the Eastern Mediterranean, where Cyprus is at the forefront of a very volatile region”.

Kasoulides said this is “something that is very pertinent for the need of a resolution of the problem of Cyprus” and thanked “Secretary Kerry himself and the United States administration for their assistance, for their interest”.
Kasoulides added “we need the assistance and interest of the international community because I think the circumstances are appropriate to push in order to find a settlement in this context), if I can call it this way”.
Responding, the US Secretary of State said “we agree with that, absolutely, and we will work at it”.
In statements after the meeting, Kasoulides made a special reference to the great mobility on the Cyprus issue as well as the interest in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, noting that these efforts are part of the general stability of the region and also Europe in its entirety.

Kasoulides stressed Kerry`s knowledge of the Cyprus issue as well his determination to visit Cyprus and “provide substance to such visit”.
The Cypriot FM also welcomed US Vice President Joe Biden`s scheduled visit to Cyprus. “This visit will have a different nature. It will symbolize the interest at the highest level and encourage the sides for a solution to the Cyprus problem,” he said.
Kasoulides pointed out that this depicts how valuable the Republic of Cyprus is for the US while it will also help the two communities receive the encouragement they need for a solution.
The Cypriot FM said during the meeting they discussed the issue of CBMs, noting that this issue has to remain alive and interesting. Kasoulides said decisions might be taken this week and the next on the first small steps but these will be the first small steps”, he remarked.
Replying to a question over statements made by Turkish officials that Turkey will not pay the 90 ml euros to the Republic of Cyprus as compensation for the violation of human rights during and after the 1974 invasion of the island as ruled by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),
Kasoulides said that this does not prevent the Committee of Ministers (of the Council of Europe) from working for compliance of the decision.
He said Turkey will have to provide explanations to the Committee and will still need to address the repercussions.
“Do not forget that the compensation will be subject to interest rate until the day they pay. They will have to pay the compensation”, he added.
US Vice President Joe Biden will visit Cyprus on the 21st of May. Biden is expected to announce during his visit to the island the funding of a master plan for the wider region of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, the inspection by experts of the fenced off area of Famagusta, known as Varosha, as well as the clearance of three mine fields.