WASHINGTON D.C. – The US continues to envision a reunified Cyprus that will be democratic and economically prosperous, US undersecretary of State for political affairs Mark Grossman, the number three man in the State Department hierarchy, said Thursday. Addressing the 15th annual International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA)/World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Cyprus conference in Washington, Grossman noted the US government’s disappointment with the Greek Cypriots’ rejection of the Annan Plan, and called on the overseas Greeks to continue their efforts for a Cyprus solution, adding that no official in the US administration was less interested today than in the past in finding a solution.
He said that, as the US government had promised, Cyprus’ accession to the European Union had not become a “hostage” to a solution, adding that April 24 (the date of the recent simultaneous referenda on the Annan plan in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities) should not be seen as the end of a process but as a landmark along a continuing course.
Greece’s foreign minister Petros Molyviatis was honored with an award at the conference, which he was unable to attend, and the award was accepted on his behalf by Greece’s ambassador in Washington George Savvaidis.
Savvaidis pledged that the Cyprus issue would continue to be a priority for the Greek government, noting that the issue would be discussed next week at a meeting between prime minister Costas Karamanlis and US president George Bush in Washington, during Karamanlis’ visit to the US.
Addressing the same conference, CIA chief George Tenet urged delegates to continue their efforts for a just solution to the Cyprus issue. Accepting an award bestowed on him by the conference organisers for his long-term contribution, Tenet noted that, as the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency he was not able to make statements, and sufficed himself to reminiscing about his experience, as a young man, working with the founder of the American Hellenic Institute Eugene Rossidis, senator Paul Sarbanes, Congressman John Brademas, and the late congressman Paul Tsongas.
He said the way those men advanced efforts for a Cyprus solution in the ’70s and ’80s was founded on principles, and that had been of great importance and value, adding that that was the stance he also followed himself.
“What they did was the right thing, and you are never wrong when you do the right thing,” Tenet said, adding that “sometimes the right thing is not apparent to everyone”.
Thirty years later, he continued, “you cannot give up, because the cause is the right cause”.
Tenet said he was proud of his Greek heritage, adding that all US officials of Greek descent “are trying to do the best possible not only for ourselves, but also for others to have a better picture of the Greeks”.