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FOREIGN Affairs Minister Markos Kyprianou discussed the potential for closer co-operation between Cyprus and the US, as well as the progress of negotiations over the Cyprus problem with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden in two official meetings.

“The two meetings that Hillary Clinton and Markos Kyprianou had in the last 15 days prove the commitment of the US for good relations with Cyprus and the solution of the matter of reunifying Cyprus.

“We are at a good point, at the beginning of this administration, so that we can build good relations with the Cypriot government and the people of Cyprus,” commented Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs who was also present at the meetings Kyprianou had with Clinton on Easter Monday.

The Clinton and Biden meetings were perceived by Kyprianou as an expression of the US desire for closer ties with Cyprus, particularly as this was his second meeting with Clinton over a two-week period.

“I believe that we are both moving into a period of closer relations between the two administrations, better co-operation, better co-ordination and precisely for this reason we will expand on issues through which we can develop our relations.

“Now I believe we have entered a new phase of closer ties with the US and a more rewarding cooperation as admittedly there had been problems in the past,” said Kyprianou.

In his 40-minute meeting with Clinton, Kyprianou had a chance to discuss issues of the Cypriot problem in more detail, in addition to bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

Clinton reportedly reiterated her support for a UN-brokered solution and assured Kyprianou that President Obama continues to support a solution based on a bi-communal bi-zonal federation.

“Clinton gave assurances for the continued American support for the ongoing negotiations lead by Cypriots that are taking place under the auspices of the UN and she repeated the statement made by President Obama before the Turkish national parliament.

“Clinton expressed her support of the efforts by the two sides to build on the momentum and achieve a solution as soon as possible, requiring courage from all sides and she expressed her trust in the leaders of the island to respond to this challenge,” Fried reported.

Kyprianou also confirmed that the results of the recent elections in the north and the defeat of Mehmet Ali Talat’s party were also discussed, without reaching any solid conclusions.

“We mentioned the issues of the election in the north and we will wait and see how the positions may be affected, which is a matter we will be following,” said Kyprianou.

Kyprianou also had a half-hour meeting with Biden in the White House, where the US Vice President reportedly reminded Kyprianou that his position on the Cyprus problem has been consistent and unchanged since 1974.

Biden also assured Kyprianou that the improvement of US-Turkish relations will in no way come at the expense of Greece or Cyprus, but forms part of the American strategy of reaching out to the Muslim world.

According to a report in Politis, diplomatic sources have indicated that the US administration is currently unprepared to take an active role in the process of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

The reason for the impasse appears to be technical: some key staff of the Obama administration have yet to take their posts at the White House, due to the requirement for an ‘interim period’ where staff of the previous administration stay on to ensure that there is a smooth transition between the two administrations.

By Anna Hassapi, Cyprus Mail, April 22, 2009|||Kyprianou satisfied with US-Cyprus relations after top-level meetings
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