Highlights of the Meeting Between USA and Cyprus Foreign Ministers

Cypriot minister of foreign affairs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis met her US counterpart Hillary Clinton in Washington during her visit to America.

During the 45-minute meeting, the two ministers discussed the Cyprus problem, the upcoming Cyprus presidency of the EU in the second half of 2012 and its implications, and the Turkish threats concerning the exploratory drillings for hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Marcoullis said that she stressed to Clinton the potential crucial strategic role of Cyprus in promoting peace and prosperity in the region through the exploitation of the island’s hydrocarbon reserves and subsequent cooperation with neighbouring countries.

“We thanked the US government for its position of principle in supporting the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus with regard to the exploration and exploitation of resources in its EEZ,” Marcoullis said.

The foreign affairs minister informed Clinton of the developments in the peace talks, highlighting Cyprus’ willingness for a solution and stressing the non-cooperative attitude of the Turkish side in backtracking from the agreed solution framework.

“While the negotiation procedure belongs to Cyprus, we called on the US to continue its support and to apply some pressure on Turkey and the Turkish side to remain within the agreed solution framework of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation,” said Marcoullis.

“Our countries have worked closely in the past and we continue to do so with regard to regional issues of the Middle East and North Africa,” Clinton said, who also reiterated her support for the peace talks.

According to a State Department official, Clinton “encouraged everyone to intensify their efforts, in the name of peace and progress”.

Marcoullis was also a guest speaker at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, at which she spoke of Cyprus’ role as a player in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the critical decisions the island will have to make in the future.