U.S. Secretary of State agrees that Annan Plan failed because it contained provisions unacceptable to western democracies
Washington, D.C.- The US is going to do everything it can, to support the Cypriots reaching their own resolution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, responding to questions before the US Congress on Wednesday. Clinton said the United States strongly supports a bizonal, bicommunal resolution to the Cyprus talks and recalled the two meetings she had recently with Cyprus FM Marcos Kyprianou as well as her meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
“And we have told each side that we support their very diligent efforts, to try to resolve these matters, including security issues and troop presence. So we’re going to do everything we can, to support the Cypriots reaching their own resolution. I think that previous efforts have unfortunately resulted in a feeling, by certainly the Greek Cypriots, that things were attempted to be imposed on them. And we want the parties to reach an agreement. And that’s what we are supporting,” Clinton noted.
To a remark by Congressman Mike Bilirakis that the Annan plan failed because it contained provisions that prohibited Greek Cypriots from purchasing property in one-third of their own country and constitutionally established Turkish troops permanently on Cyprus, and finally, it was bad policy to try to impose an Annan-type plan that would be unacceptable to Western democracies on the Cypriot people, the US Secretary of State said that the Cyprus settlement must be agreed by the two parties themselves.
“Well, I think your description is accurate,” and that, “We don’t intend to impose anything. We intend to support, insofar as we are able, the negotiations between the parties for what we believe is the best outcome: a bizonal, bicommunal federation that would represent fairly the interests of both communities.”
In response to a Cyprus question from Congressman Mike McMahon (D-NY), also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committeeʼs Europe Subcommittee, Secretary Clinton added (unrelated to the question) that, “You know, let me say that Cyprus is so strategically located, if this problem can be resolved in a way that is satisfactory to both communities and, as you say, bizonal, bicommunal agreement, I think that the future for Cyprus is unlimited, economically and as a player in Europe and the Middle East. It’s in everyone’s interest. It’s also very much on the minds of many of those who are involved in the negotiations.” Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO), who just returned from visiting Cyprus, also brought up Cyprus in his remarks to the Secretary.
With regard to Greece, in response to questions from Congressman Bilirakis, Secretary Clinton noted that, “Greece is a close ally, a partner within NATO, a country with whom we cooperate on a range of important regional issues. I have met several times with the foreign minister and also with the prime minister, along with President Obama, during the European Union-U.S. council in Prague.” With regard to the FYROM issue, also raised by Congressman Bilirakis, Secretary Clinton said, “We very strongly support efforts for a mutually accepted name. And we understand Greece’s sensitivities. I have discussed this with our NATO partners, also, in my meetings at the E.U. And we have urged all the parties to come to a resolution that is acceptable.”
With regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) noted, in his remarks to the Secretary, that, “the Halki theological seminary was raised by President Obama when he was in Turkey, and I hope that the State Department would follow up until that school is allowed to reopen.” Unfortunately, Secretary Clinton did not have time to respond on this issue.
With regard to Turkey, Secretary Clinton mentioned in her opening remarks that, “…We’re also building closer ties with regional anchors, including Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. These are not only partners, but they can be leaders on issues ranging from deforestation to democracy.” When asked, by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) about the U.S. governmentʼs position on Turkeyʼs EU accession, she said that, “We believe that it is exactly as you describe, in the best long- term strategic interests of Europe, of the region and of the United States. So we strongly support it.”
KYPRIANOU MEETINGS WITH CLINTON, BIDEN
The US intention to upgrade cooperation with Cyprus on bilateral and regional issues was confirmed during meetings Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou held with US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, last Monday.
During his Washington meetings, Kyprianou reviewed the Cyprus issue while both Clinton and Biden expressed the US administrationʼs support for the ongoing peace talks in Cyprus for a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue.
In her remarks, Clinton said she was happy to welcome the Minister at the State Department. “He and I had the chance to meet during the EU-US Summit in Prague and we obviously have a lot to discuss and a number of matters of interest and we are pleased to have an opportunity to do that so early in our administration,” she told reporters before the start of their meeting.
Kyprianou said it was a privilege for him to meet Clinton in Washington to complete their discussion which began 15 days ago in Prague.
According to Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, Clinton had a “positive and constructive meeting this afternoon (Monday) with Cypriot Foreign Minister Kyprianou”, noting that the meeting “followed on their previous discussion during their bilateral meeting in Prague, in addition to efforts to reunify Cyprus”.
He also said the two ministers discussed bilateral relations, and in particular Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Kyprianou discussed “closer cooperation and coordination on a number of issues, including counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, regional issues including the Middle East, and she expressed the views that Cyprus has been a valuable partner and we agreed to find ways to deepen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries”.
Fried noted Secretary Clinton “affirmed US support for the on-going Cypriot-led negotiations under UN auspices; as President Obama stated while he was in Ankara the United States is willing to offer all the help sought for by the parties as they work towards a just and lasting settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bizonal, bicommunal federation. She applauded the two leaders, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat for their courageous efforts in working upon negotiations and recognize their commitment to a settlement”.
He added that the Secretary expressed her support “for the efforts of both sides to build on a momentum and achieve a solution as soon as possible, which will require courage on all sides and she expressed confidence that the leaders on the island can meet this challenge. To sum-up this was a good meeting between the two ministers, the second meeting they have had in two weeks; it shows how committed the United States is, to good relations with Cyprus and the solution of the problem of reunification and the challenge of reunification which is what we want; we are in a good place at the beginning of this administration, to build a good relationship with the government of Cyprus and all the people of Cyprus”.
In his statements, Kyprianou said that he and Clinton had a very constructive and useful meeting during which they referred to the process to solve the Cyprus issue.
“We are moving to a period of closer relations between the two governments, better cooperation and coordination and for this reason we will investigate issues on which we can develop our relations”, the Minister remarked.
Asked if the US administration is concerned over the Republican Turkish Partyʼs defeat in the so-called parliamentary elections in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, Kyprianou said they mentioned the voting in the northern occupied areas, adding that “we will wait to see how their (Turkish Cypriots) position will change”.
Kyprianou said Fried briefed him on President Barack Obamaʼs contacts in Ankara. “They said that the US positions are known, they support a bizonal, bicommunal federation and the procedure which began and the Turkish government has repeated what it has said in public, that it supports the procedure to allow Mr. Talat negotiate freely. However this is something that will become evident in practice”, he added.
Referring to his meeting with Vice President Biden, Kyprianou said that it was a US expression for closer relations with Cyprus.
He said he briefed Biden on the course of the negotiations, the obstacles that exist as well as the expectations and analyzed the positions of the Greek Cypriot side.
Bilateral issues were examined, Kyprianou said, as well as the prospects of reinforcing bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries. He said there is a genuine will on the US as well as the Cyprus governmentʼs part to strengthen these relations.
It was also made clear by Biden that the improvement of relations between the US and Turkey is not directed against Greece or Cyprus but is part of the new US strategy to make openings to Moslems.