Remarks With Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides Before Their Meeting

Statement

By:  John Kerry
Date: May 10, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. It is my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Kasoulides of Cyprus, and really at an important time. Cyprus is a very good friend of the United States, and I know that Cyprus, as everybody does, has been struggling with very, very deep economic challenges. So we are very understanding of the difficult choices that you've had to make and the challenges that you face. We certainly want to be helpful in ways that we can be.

We also look forward to working with the Foreign Minister and with President Anastasiades and others to try to move Cyprus forward on one of the world's frozen conflicts. I have talked personally with the Prime Minister of Turkey and the Foreign Minister of Turkey several times, I've talked with the Foreign Minister of Greece, and I've talked to the President of Cyprus, and I hope that there is a way. The United States supports a bizonal, bicommunal federation. We would like to see us unfreeze this conflict and be able to move to a resolution.

The United Nations is working at that, a representative who was hoping to find a moment. I would hope that rather than preventing people from moving forward, the economic crisis in fact opens up opportunities. And needless to say, there are important possibilities of exploration off the coast of Cyprus with its economic zone, and that may even be able to be a part of a solution.

So Mr. Foreign Minister, I'm really delighted to have you here. You're an old pro at this; you've been at it a long time. And I look forward to a good conversation with you on all of the issues of concern.

FOREIGN MINISTER KASOULIDES: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. I'm very glad that I'm going to have this meeting with the Secretary of State. I know that Secretary Kerry shows a very keen interest in our region, in the eastern Mediterranean. In fact, I think his next visit will be the fourth in the region. And I want to discuss the issue of Cyprus, as he has said, not in isolation but being looked at in the wider picture of the eastern Mediterranean. We want to be and play the role of stability in this region and work with all the neighbors and with the United States.

And we think that also the efforts to resolve our problem is our first and foremost desire. It's an open wound and it's bleeding to have to have one's country divided. Of course, we would like to deal with the issues of the economy and the issues of the natural gas as three separate issues. If the ones reinforces the other, it's through these parallel three roles. But we will discuss these things in the meeting.

SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. I look forward to it. Thank you all very much. Thank you.