The US on Tuesday stressed the importance of upholding peace and security in and around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean and urged all parties to “avoid any threats or other actions or statements that escalate tension”.
The statement, issued in the context of welcoming the resumption of Cyprus talks, comes within weeks of increased Turkish marine activity in the seas around Cyprus.
At the start of the month, Turkish navy expelled a Norwegian vessel searching for hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ economic exclusion zone, claiming it had entered an area under Turkey’s jurisdiction. Prior to that Cypriot officials said Turkey had encroached into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), dispatching research vessels to waters south and southwest of the island.
“The United States urges all parties to avoid any threats or other actions or statements that escalate tension,” the White House said, adding that the US reaffirmed its support for the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and develop the resources in its off-shore zones.
“We continue to believe that the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement”.
The statement said that President Barack Obama and the United States encouraged the sides in Cyprus to work expeditiously to resolve outstanding core issues and achieve a settlement that reunifies Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation the soonest possible.
It said the US, which was instrumental in finalising the joint declaration of the leaders, would engage in diplomacy with all stakeholders to explore possible initiatives to reinforce settlement negotiations, including measures aimed at the future revitalisation of the Famagusta region, when agreed by the two communities.
Washington welcomes the meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and the renewal of negotiations on a Cyprus settlement under the auspices of the UN, adding that “the joint statement agreed by the two leaders reflects a spirit of compromise and lays a solid foundation for results-oriented talks”.
The statement congratulated the constructive work done by Greece, Turkey and other international players in ensuring the talks got off the ground.
“The division of Cyprus has endured for far too long. Through a settlement both communities will be able to realise their full potential, with enhanced stability and economic prosperity for all the people of the island,” said the statement.
“The United States welcomes President Anastasiades’ proposal for a package of bold and innovative confidence-building measures and other constructive proposals, which have the potential, when agreed and implemented by the parties to dramatically enhance cooperation between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and restore faith in settlement efforts”.