NEW YORK – President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, accompanied by officials from their respective governments, held a bilateral meeting on September 26 at the New York Palace hotel in the context of the upcoming annual opening session of the UN General Assembly.
Among those present were Cyprus’ Ambassador to the U.S. George Chacalli, Amb. Nikos Emiliou, Cyprus’ permanent representative to the UN, and Koula Sophianou, past Consul General of Cyprus in New York a currently posted at the Foreign Ministry in Nicosia.
Nikos Christodoulides, the Cyprus Government Spokesman, briefed journalists representing Greek, Cypriot and community news media.
The reporters were told the group had a productive discussion in a very friendly atmosphere. The Cyprus problem was one of two themes that dominated the meeting.
Christodoulides spoke about the course of the UN-sponsored negotiations, which he said are progressing. He added Cyprus has asked for help from the U.S., because it is a member of the UN Security Council and because of Washington’s very close bilateral relations with all the parties involved. Special reference was made of the need for Turkey to take more concrete steps and actions and to demonstrate in practice what its official say in public about their desire to solve the Cyprus problem.
He said “It is important that the United States recognizes the strategic role that the Republic of Cyprus plays in the Eastern Mediterranean and believe that through further strengthening of our relations through the dialogue that is underway with the United States, this emerging role of the Republic of Cyprus will be strengthened.”
“I want to mention that the two issues are linked directly to each other in the sense that the strengthening of the strategic role of Cyprus in the area sends messages related to the need to resolve the Cyprus problem as soon as possible. They are messages about our expectations that Turkey must take concrete actions,” he added.
Christodoulides noted that there will be meetings between U.S. and Turkish officials that will include a discussion about Cyprus issue and revealed a meeting take place late Saturday afternoon between Kerry and the Turkish foreign minister and that the Cyprus problem will be on high on the agenda.
In response to a journalists question about whether Mr. Kerry plans to visit Cyprus soon, Christodoulides responded that “What I can tell you is that there is interest on the part of the American Secretary of State to visit the area. We will see how things develop…and the relevant announcements will be made.”