Washington, D.C.- The US government is working hard for a resolution of the Cyprus issue, said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, noting that the objective is to get back “to the time of the Annan plan”.
Responding to questions at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the discussion of the “President’s Budget for Foreign Affairs”, Secretary Rice explained that the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus is not included in the fiscal 2007 request, but if it becomes necessary to continue the mission, the US will find a way to meet the obligation.
Asked by Senator Paul Sarbanes why she assumes in the request that the mission will be terminated in fiscal 2007, Rice expressed the belief that a lot politically is changing with that obligation “including Cyprus’ incorporation into the European Union”.
“We are working very hard now to get back to where we were a year ago, which was at the time of the Annan plan, with which I know there were some disagreements, to actually resolve this conflict. Should there be need for continued peacekeeping there, we’ll meet the obligation”, the US Secretary of State concluded.
The UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus has been on the island since March 1964. Today more than 1,000 persons serve in the force. The government of Cyprus contributes a substantial amount to the maintenance of the force.
US Congressman Steve Rothman discussed the Cyprus problem with US Deputy Assistant of State Matt Bryza. A press release issued by Rothman’s office said they discussed the ongoing efforts ”to reunify the nation of Cyprus and create a two-state federation.”
”Rothman used the opportunity to remind Bryza of the strategic importance of Cyprus to the United States,” it added.
Congressman Rothman is a member of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus and the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee.