|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Foreign Minister of Cyprus Iaonnis Kasoulides
Press remarks prior to their meeting
Washington, D.C., June 6, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am delighted to welcome Minister Kasoulides to the Department of State. We met in Cyprus last year when we were both serving in different capacities. He has now been in his new job for about two months, while I have been in mine for a little more than four. I am confident that we will be able to build on our friendship and work together in many different ways.
I emphasize at the outset that this friendship and U.S.-Cyprus relations extend far beyond the so-called Cyprus problem. Cyprus is a valued partner in the fight against the new global threats of proliferation, terror, illegal narcotics and international crime. Cyprus and the United States also have shared values and a shared commitment to building a world based on open markets, democratic principles and the rule of law.
In our meeting today, the Minister and I will discuss a range of matters on our bilateral relationship and cooperation. I will assure the Minister of America's interest in seeing the people of Cyprus achieve a lasting settlement to the intercommunal dispute on their island. There could be no more dramatic a demonstration of that commitment than the President's decision to name Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as our special emissary to promote the Cyprus settlement. During our meeting, I will discuss Ambassador Holbrooke's mission, and also the upcoming UN-sponsored direct talks between the Cypriot leaders.
The United States' goal remains to encourage a Cyprus settlement that establishes a stable, bizonal federation, with adequate security guarantees for all. That is a task for the people of Cyprus themselves to accomplish, but the United States will do all it can to help them find the right path.
I look forward very much to working with my new friend, Minister Kasoulides, and to build an even stronger partnership and relationship between our two countries. Mr. Minister.
MINISTER KASOULIDES: Well, first of all, let me express the appreciation of my government for the personal interest shown by Secretary of State Mrs. Albright to the necessity for the Cyprus problem to be solved.
My meeting with the Secretary of State takes place only 48 hours after the nomination of Richard Holbrooke as the special presidential emissary to Cyprus. This appointment demonstrates the degree of the involvement and of the determination of President Clinton and the American Government in the efforts to reach a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.
I would like to thank the Secretary of State for the good words she has expressed today about the level of good relations between Cyprus and the United States of America, and to publicly reiterate the commitment of President Clerides to go to the forthcoming negotiations in New York, the face-to-face negotiations with Mr. Denktash, with an open mind, with a positive spirit to be constructive and discuss the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question in a spirit of give and take; and to express the hope that if Mr. Denktash comes to the negotiating table with a similar political will, then peace is in sight, which will open and lead the way to the reconciliation of all Cypriots in the common future that lies ahead of us, for all of us, for the sake of the stability in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, since you have a personal interest in the Cyprus questions, now with Richard Holbrooke joining the team and the U.S. stepping up the efforts for a Cyprus solution, are you optimistic in the near future for a unified, undivided Cyprus?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me just say, as you have stated correctly, it is an issue that I have had a personal interest in, and I've been to the island several times. What we see is the reunification of Cyprus. We believe that the division of the island is unacceptable. And as I said in my statement, we continue to support the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We will do everything we can to bring the process forward.
I think that the whole issue here is very much like what I said yesterday at Harvard. The United States is very willing to help in every way we can, but obviously, the parties themselves are the ones that have to work together. That is exactly what I hope will happen as Ambassador Holbrooke takes up this very important assignment.
QUESTION: Secretary Albright, do you believe that an eventual solution of the Cyprus problem has to respect and be compatible with the international law, the UN resolutions the (inaudible) rules and norms of the European Union?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that what is very important, again, as I said, is that any future settlement must provide security guarantees that are acceptable to both sides; and that all the issues need to be resolved in a way that are negotiated between the two parties. That has to do with issues such as refugees and territory. It is important that the parties make these agreements, and that we are able to approach what we have always wanted - which is the reunification of Cyprus.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, as you know, Senator Helms has come out against Governor Weld becoming the ambassador to Mexico. He said it's not going to happen. Are you planning on meeting with the Senator any time today or early next week?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say that I have an excellent relationship with Senator Helms. I talk and meet with him frequently. Most of all, I don't discuss my meetings with him.
QUESTION: Are you hopeful that Weld will be named the ambassador?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me just say, we believe - the President and I - that Governor Weld is an excellent candidate for the job of ambassador to Mexico, and we support his nomination and will continue to do so.
MR. BURNS: Thank you very much.
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