By Stefanos Evripidou
THE GOVERNMENT yesterday welcomed a statement by the US diplomat responsible for Cyprus Eric Rubin that the key to a Cyprus solution lies with Turkey’s actions, not just words.
Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said the government welcomed remarks made by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian
Affairs during the 29th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference, which opened in Washington on Tuesday.
He said the government noted Rubin’s remark that the US will support Cyprus in overcoming the economic crisis as well as his reference for the immediate strengthening of ties between the US and Cyprus.
Papadopoulos described as a “positive development” the fact the US official said the status quo in Cyprus was unjust and should end; that it would not be wise to bring back the Annan plan (in full) to the negotiating table; and that the key for a solution in Cyprus is not just what Turkey says, but how it acts.
The deputy spokesman also noted the US diplomat’s expressed support towards the Cypriot government’s proposal for Turkey to open Varosha under UN control as a confidence building measure ahead of the launch of a new round of peace talks.
The Cyprus News Agency said in his address to delegates, Rubin said the Cyprus issue constituted a high priority of the US government, noting that the US would make every effort to act as “helpful outsiders”.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides also addressed the conference, hosted by the International Coordinating Committee ‘Justice for Cyprus’ (PSEKA) and the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH).
Regarding the Eurogroup decision to “bail-in” Cypriot banks, Stylianides acknowledged that mistakes were made by Cyprus, but that the drastic measures imposed on the country’s economy were at best, “an experiment”.
“We now expect from our European partners to show their solidarity. They need to make sure that the harsh experiment they have imposed upon Cyprus will be a successful one,” he said.
On the peace process, he said President Nicos Anastasiades was committed to bringing a “fresh approach” and creating a new impetus for a solution.
“But he is also of the opinion that we need to break away from the failed recipes of the past and apply the lessons that we have learnt. In order to create the new conditions that will allow tangible progress once negotiations restart, we need some game-changers that will foster a spirit of confidence and co-operation,” said Stylianides.
He referred to the government proposal to open Varosha to its rightful inhabitants, noting: “Such a measure would create a win-win situation for all concerned, generate much needed good-will and demonstrate that progress is indeed possible as a step towards achieving the overarching goal of reunification.”
Stylianides told his audience that Cyprus wants to play a more significant role in the European security apparatus, to act as a predictable and stabilising force in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.
Cyprus wants to bolster the transatlantic partnership, and bring “added value” to its partners in the region, the EU, and the US.
Meanwhile, Stylianides also met with representatives of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Washington, where they discussed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the new era in Cypriot-Israeli relations.
The spokesman was due to meet with Rubin yesterday and hold meetings with members of the US Congress.