The status quo in Cyprus and Turkish activity in Varosha are unacceptable and contrary to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the president of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez said.

In an interview with “Kathimerini” Menendez said he is proud to have led the Cyprus issue in Washington and to “stand by our friends and allies in Nicosia”.

“Almost half a century since Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, Turkish troops continue to illegally occupy the northern part of the island. This status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable. Turkish activity in Varosha is unacceptable and is in direct contradiction with multiple resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. And Turkish human rights violations are unacceptable. For this reason, the president of Turkey must immediately stop his provocations,” he said.

The US Senator said that they remain committed “to the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and to the bi-zonal, bicommunal federation”.

As Cypriot Americans join forces with Cypriots from around the world in their quest to unite their homeland, and as they seek to secure an economically prosperous state free from illegal occupation, I will be by their side,” Menendez said.

The senator added that with Cyprus seeking to deepen its strategic partnership with the US, it is in the US’s national interest in matters of national security and economy to remove outdated restrictions on arms sales that no longer help US security objectives in the Mediterranean.

Menendez also sent a strong message to Turkey to comply with its allied obligations, and expressed his concern over the information that Turkey is considering the purchase of an additional Russian S-400 missile defence system, which he points out, would be another clear violation of U.S. sanctions imposed by CAATSA (Law on Dealing with America’s Adversaries through Sanctions).

“From the ongoing violations of Greece’s airspace to the delay in the process of Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO, I sincerely hope that Turkey will change course and stand up to its responsibilities towards the Alliance, being the constructive partner in the region that we all hope it can be. Until then, I cannot support the sale or transfer of American F-16 fighters to Turkey,” he stressed.

Regarding the overflights over the Greek islands, he emphasised that: “Turkey must stop its provocations and invasions of Greek territorial waters and airspace. Full stop.”