SCC Weston answers to KIBRIS interview questions:
1. Q.: What is the general approach of the United States to the Cyprus problem?
A: The United States strongly supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General to reach a just, durable, and comprehensive solution to the differences that have divided Cyprus for far too long. We can't stress enough the importance of the role played by the UNSYG's Good Offices mission and the UNSYG's Special Advisor Alvaro de Soto. The U.S. is focussed on supporting the direct talks now underway under UN auspices.
2. Q.: What kind of a solution do you envisage for the Cyprus problem?
A: The United States believes that a comprehensive settlement is the best solution for Cyprus. It is up to the leaders of the two communities to reach agreement on details in direct talks with the assistance of the United Nations. We believe it is possible to reach a settlement that meets the legitimate concerns of both communities on Cyprus and promotes regional stability.
3. Q.: Do you believe that the Paris rendezvous achieved any improvement?
A: The two leaders' meeting in Paris with UN Secretary General Annan was an important opportunity to take stock of the direct talks and see if a course could be charted for the way ahead. Importantly, the Secretary General urged the two leaders to tackle the matters he discussed with them with a greater sense of urgency before he meets with them again in New York in October.
4. Q.: What do you expect the two leaders to achieve before the New York rendezvous?
A: We hope the two leaders will respond to the Secretary General's message. We strongly agree with the Secretary General and the UN Security Council that greater urgency is needed in the talks in order to reach a comprehensive settlement.
5. Q.: Do you intend to contribute in any way to the efforts of the two leaders in this period?
A: We will continue to support the UN's efforts, as we have to date. To do so, Ambassador Klosson in Nicosia will continue to stay in close contact with President Clerides and Mr. Denktash. During the weeks and months to come, I will continue to provide diplomatic support to the UN effort including travel to the area and to other interested countries and the closest cooperation with the UN team.
6. Q.: What are your expectations for the forthcoming New York meeting?
A: We hope the meeting in New York will create momentum toward major progress in the round of direct talks to follow. It is critical to bear in mind that there is a real window of opportunity to reach a settlement before the EU takes its decision on enlargement at the Copenhagen Council in December. This historic opportunity will probably not come again, and we must seize it.
7. Q.: Do you believe that a comprehensive settlement may be possible before the end of the year?
A: Yes. Of course, this will depend greatly on the good-faith negotiating of the two leaders. Again, we have to seize the historic window of opportunity provided by the Copenhagen Council meeting in December. I'd also note that the two leaders agreed in December 2001 to continue to negotiate in good faith until a comprehensive settlement is achieved.
8. Q.: What will be the role of the United States in efforts to find a solution in the near future?
A: We will continue to strongly support UN efforts. Concretely, as I previously said, Ambassador Klosson will continue his work with both leaders on Cyprus and I will continue my work on the Island and with all regional actors, the EU and the UN.
9. Q.: How does a solution to the Cyprus problem tie in with the interests of the United States?
A: In many ways. Most important, it would be good for all Cypriots. A settlement would mean the promise of peace and stability on the island with the prospect of strengthened economic growth. A Cyprus settlement would also reduce military tensions and promote stability in the Aegean region. It would reinforce the recent trends toward improved relations between our NATO allies Greece and Turkey, and pave the way for even closer U.S. relations with both countries. A settlement would also ease Cyprus's accession to the EU and improve Turkey's EU prospects. In addition, it would further the U.S. commercial and cultural relationships with Cyprus.