Washington, D.C. by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou and US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice held a 40-minute meeting on Tuesday, during which Iacovou presented the Greek Cypriot side’s positions on the Cyprus problem and pointed out that it has cooperated with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan towards a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking after his meetings at the State Department, where he signed a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on the prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Iacovou said he noted that the Greek Cypriot side’s positions on the solution plan proposed by Annan have been expressed and that the Secretary General should continue his efforts, either by sending an envoy to the island or by appointing a special representative to be in Nicosia.
At the State Department, Iacovou also had a half-hour meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Dan Fried. Before departing for London to join President Tassos Papadopoulos in talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iacovou met with Greek American senator Paul Sarbanes.
Iacovou said he discussed various issues with Rice, mainly the Cyprus problem. ”I presented our positions, that we have cooperated with the UN Secretary General, that we have explained our positions on the Annan plan, that we believe the Secretary General should continue, either by sending an envoy at some time before September or by appointing a special representative who will be in Nicosia,” Iacovou noted.
”I must say that she listened with great attention. Nothing that could cause any difficulty was mentioned. The view is that the Secretary General is possibly giving some time to study our positions, that they will support the Secretary General’s efforts, they do not have a different agenda, they will help the Secretary General,” he added.
Referring to his talks with Fried, Iacovou said they mainly covered the Cyprus problem ”and how we view things.”
”We also discussed issues of cooperation between the US and the EU, various problems arising from time to time and how there can be cooperation,” he added.
Iacovou pointed out that the US officials did not express any special concerns over possible problems that may arise by Ankara’s signing of the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU member states.
”It is known that the US want cooperation between the EU and NATO. Turkey is trying to leave the Republic of Cyprus out of this cooperation. For this reason, we have already expressed our positions,” he said.
Replying to questions regarding terrorism, Iacovou said the US is satisfied with the Republic of Cyprus’ action on the matter, as well as issues concerning drugs and money laundering.
The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Ship Boarding Agreement will facilitate cooperation between the two countries to prevent the maritime transfer of proliferation-related shipments by establishing points of contact and procedures to expedite requests to board and search suspect vessels in international waters.
The State Department, in a press release, notes that Cyprus is the world’s sixth largest ship registry by gross tonnage and the first EU member state to sign such an agreement with the US, adding that ”signing the ship boarding agreement demonstrates the commitment of Cyprus and the US to ensuring the highest standards of security for their flag registries.”
Diplomatic sources have told CNA that in the preamble of the agreement, there is a reference to UN Security Council resolutions 541 and 550, which inter alia deplore the declaration of the self-styled regime in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic and call on all UN members not to facilitate or support in any way the secessionist entity.
The PSI aims at establishing cooperative partnerships worldwide to prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.
The ship boarding agreement signed by the US and Cyprus ”will facilitate cooperation between the two countries to prevent the maritime transfer of proliferation-related shipments by establishing points of contact and procedures to expedite requests to board and search suspect vessels in international waters,” according to the press release.
It adds that ”if a US or Cypriot-flagged vessel is suspected of carrying proliferation-related cargo, either party to this agreement can request the other to confirm the nationality of the ship in question and, if needed, to authorise the boarding, search, and possible detention of the vessel and its cargo,” noting that the agreement does not apply to the vessels of third states.