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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks Following Meeting with President Christofias at the Presidential Palace

Philip H. Gordon
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Nicosia, Cyprus
January 20, 2011


ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Hi, good afternoon everybody. I am delighted to be in Cyprus, a beautiful day on this beautiful island. I am here for talks with leaders on both sides. I had dinner last night with Mr. Downer, the Special Adviser to the UN.

I just had an excellent meeting with President Christofias. I reiterated our strong support for the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus, and I reiterated our long standing support for a Cyprus solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation. I have talks on both sides of the island and will continue to reiterate what Secretary Clinton has said, which is that the status quo in Cyprus has gone on for far too long. I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

QUESTION: Yes, I would like to know about the active involvement of the U.S.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: The United States is actively involved. I consider my visit here an expression of our active involvement. We have said for a long time, and continue to believe, that the best approach on Cyprus is direct talks between the two sides, and that hasn't changed. We welcome that the leaders on both sides continue to have those direct talks. My visit here was simply to get a better understanding of the perspectives of the two sides, and I just want to reiterate that the United States is prepared to be helpful in any way we can.

QUESTION: In what way is that? Stepped-up engagement?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Well, again, just to reiterate and to be clear. We believe the best approach is for the parties to talk directly. The only way there is going to be a Cyprus settlement is if both sides agree to such a settlement. I will be in close touch with both sides to see how we might be helpful. We don't think it's our role to try to impose a solution that wouldn't work, but we are very committed to a solution. We believe, as Secretary Clinton has said, that the status quo has gone for too long. The status quo is in the interest of neither side, and we will be helpful in any way we can.

QUESTION: Sir, are you also planning to visit Athens and Ankara?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: Not on this trip. This is a trip just to Cyprus. Thank you.

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