Nicosia.- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will hold a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry on May 10th. Kasoulides who is currently paying a visit to London, told the London Greek Radio (LGR) Thursday that during the meeting he will discuss with his US counterpart the issue of the resumption of the Cyprus direct talks as well as the economic situation following the Eurogroup decision and the bailout agreement with the international lenders.
Kasoulides program includes a speech at the Brookings Institution, meetings with key members of Congress and a dinner with Archbishop Demetrios and leaders of the Greek American Community to discuss the solidarity efforts for Cyprus. According to reliable sources, Kasoulides is also expected to meet with Vice President Joe Biden.
US government supports Cypriot led talks under the good offices of the United Nations. The US reiterated Wednesday that it supports Cyprus’s right to explore for energy in its offshore areas.
Invited to comment on a report in a Cypriot newspaper about explorations in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, a State Department official said that “the United States supports Cyprus’s right to explore for energy in its offshore areas”.
He added that “the United States continues to support strongly the Cypriot-led negotiation process, conducted under the UN’s good offices, to reunify the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”.
“We continue to believe that the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement” the State Department official said.
He noted that the US “does not believe that developing offshore energy resources need hinder the reunification talks”.
“Beyond that, we’re not going to comment on private diplomatic conversations” he concluded.
On Friday, Ioannis Kasoulides met with UN Secretary General’s Cyprus Special Advisor Alexander Downer, before he flew to Turkey for meetings with Turkish leadership.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus has made strong representations over the meeting which UN envoy Alexander Downer had with the so called foreign minister in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.
In a written statement released on Saturday, Spokesman Christos Stylianides said the government believes that actions which may “equate the institutions of the lawful state of the Republic with representatives of the illegal secessionist entity should be precluded”.
He said the Foreign Ministry carried out preemptive followed by strong representations regarding UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer’s meeting with the so called foreign minister in the occupied areas.
Referring to reports in the press over the appointment of a negotiator for Cyprus, Stylianides said the time of such an appointment is up to the complete discretion and responsibility of the President of the Republic.
The direct talks between the two communities (Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot) began in 2008 with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof. The negotiations resulted to a halt in July 2012 when Cyprus assumed the Presidency of Council of the EU.
Following his meeting with Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu, on 24 April 2013, Alexander Downer said:
“We had a good meeting and I think we all want to get the process going again after the hiatus of the elections and so on. Obviously there’s a huge economic issue that the Greek Cypriots are facing that we’ll have to take into account and be sympathetic to the Greek Cypriots as they wrestle with these big problems. They are seeing unemployment rising very fast and living standards falling very fast. We wouldn’t be human if we weren’t sorry about that and concerned about that. At the same time efforts need to be made to reunite Cyprus and to solve the Cyprus problem and we are putting time into that and looking forward to hosting a dinner next month for Mr. Eroglu and Mr. Anastasiades. We’re pretty close to finalising a date for that and once we get both leaders to agree to a date- that will happen in the next day or to- we can start making preparations for that. And we’re doing background work as well. Over and above that I’ll be visiting Athens tomorrow and visiting Ankara on Monday, I’ll come back here on Tuesday and I’ll see Mr. Eroglu and Mr. Anastasiades on Tuesday afternoon and I’ll report back to them on my visits. We hope all that will be a constructive contribution to starting to move the process forward. But these are hugely difficult times and we obviously have to take that into account and be sensitive and cautions as to how we handle these issues.”