NICOSIA, Cyprus, Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. has said for a long time and continues to believe that the best approach on Cyprus is direct talks between the two sides and that has not changed, U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Mr. Philip Gordon said today, after being received by the President of the Republic, Mr. Demetris Christofias, at the Presidential Palace, adding that the status quo is in the interest of neither side.
Speaking to the Press after his meeting with President Christofias, Mr. Gordon said: "I am here for talks with leaders on both sides. I had dinner last night with Mr. Downer, the Special Adviser to the UN. I just had an excellent meeting with President Christofias and I reiterated our strong support for the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus, and I reiterated our longstanding support for a Cyprus solution, based on a bizonal bicommunal federation. I had talks on both sides of the island and will continue to reiterate what Secretary Clinton has said, which is that the status quo in Cyprus has gone on for far too long."
Replying to questions of whether there would be a more active involvement of the U.S. in efforts for a Cyprus settlement, the U.S. official said that "the U.S.. .is actively involved. I consider my visit here an expression of our active involvement. We have said for a long time and continue to believe that the best approach on Cyprus is direct talks between the two sides and that has not changed. We welcome that the leaders on both sides continue to have those direct talks. My visit here was simply to get a better understanding of the perspectives of the two sides and I just want to reiterate that the U.S. is prepared to be helpful in any way we can."
Asked on what way the U.S. is helpful, Mr. Gordon replied, "just to reiterate and be clear, we believe the best approach is for the parties to talk directly. The only way there is going to be a Cyprus settlement is if both sides agree to such a settlement. I will be in close touch with both sides to see how we might be helpful. We do not think it is our role to try to impose a solution that would not work, but we are very committed to a solution. The status quo is in the interest of neither side and we will be helpful in any way we can."
To a question on whether he was planning to visit Athens and Ankara as well, Mr. Gordon said "not on this trip, this is a trip just to Cyprus."
This press release is being distributed by Qorvis Communications on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus