US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the full involvement of US diplomacy in the Cyprus issue while testifying before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon.
Asked by Democrat Representative for Rhode Island David Cicilline, after recalling President Biden’s involvement in the Cyprus issue as a Senate member and as VP, Blinken said it was an issue that the US president was taking very seriously, according to reports by CNA correspondent Apostoli Zoupaniotis.
“We strongly support a comprehensive settlement that will reunite Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We will be involved in the effort to advance this perspective, including support for the pivotal role of the United Nations, as well as direct US involvement in the effort. I think you will see the full involvement of American diplomacy,” Antony Blinken concluded.
In his remarks, noting that July marks the 47th anniversary of the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, Cicilline said that for the first time there is a US President and Secretary of State with substantial experience in the reunification of Cyprus.
“I want to know before the start of talks on the Cyprus issue announced by the UN Secretary General for April what the strategy will be to address the obsession of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot leader with the two-state solution and the opening of the ghost town of Varosha. Both contradict the United Nations resolutions and the American policy.”
Cicilline added that there are several expectations for real progress to be achieved with this government toward the reunification of Cyprus.
Responding afterwards to the intervention by New York Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis, the US Secretary of State reiterated his support for a solution of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, noting that “we will place our diplomatic emphasis on this effort and we will also support the UN efforts in this direction.”
“I can assure you that you will see the United States and our diplomats very active and involved in Cyprus, trying to move things forward after many years,” he added.
Regarding the tripartite cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the anti-democratic setback of Turkey and the role the US could play, Antony Blinken noted that the US is very concerned over some of the developments unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially from Turkey, whether they concern land or maritime areas, or even energy resources.
“It is very important that the United States take a stand and promote stability and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all parties in the Eastern Mediterranean, and insist that any disputes that arise be resolved peacefully, diplomatically, not militarily and certainly not through provocative actions. We have criticized actions, including those by Turkey, which in our opinion violate international law or its commitments as a NATO ally, as was the case with the S-400, which include provocative actions against Greece such as airspace violations and so forth,” the US Secretary of State underlined.
However, Antony Blinken also stressed that one of the positive developments of recent weeks was the significant defusion in these issues, with Turkey attempting to move forward in a more productive way by becoming involved with the EU and others.
“We are very supportive of this and we will continue to work to help move things in that direction,” he said.
Responding to Representative Malliotakis on the issue of aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, the US Secretary of State stressed that the US will continue to address the matter. “I think a positive development is the more constructive involvement of Turkey in this region in recent weeks, especially with the EU. We hope that the heat, at least in this area, will continue to drop and will remain low.”
As for the role of the USA in various collaborations and projects in the region, responding to Representative Dina Titus, he explained that they are looking into the matter to see if there is a productive role they can take on, especially in terms of energy and resource and route diversification.
“It is something that promotes our own security, as well as the security of other countries, including partners,” he added.
This was Antony Blinken’s first testimony before the committee since taking office. The issues of China, Russia and Iran, as well as the Nord Stream pipeline dominated the hearing, while California Democrat Representative Brad Sherman raised the issue of Turkey’s interventions in Azerbaijan and the need to hold Ankara accountable for the innumerous human rights violations and imprisonments of opponents of the regime. /ibna