Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) met the UN representative on Cyprus on Tuesday, calling for the reunification of the island by rejecting the two-state proposal advanced by Turkey.
Maloney and Bilirakis, co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues met with Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Deputy Special Adviser of the Secretary-General, Elizabeth Spehar.
During the meeting, Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis stressed the importance of pursuing the reunification of Cyprus and a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.
Following the meeting, Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis stated, “We remain encouraged by the UN’s commitment to pursing talks on a final status agreement for Cyprus and both recognize and appreciate that the United States has a critical role play in bringing Greece, Turkey, and Greek and Turkish Cypriots to the table.
Maloney, Bilirakis: The US must remain engaged on Cyprus
“The outcome of the talks will ultimately be decided by the Cypriot people, but we strongly believe the U.S. government must remain actively engaged in their progress.”
The meeting took place a few days before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the occupied territories of Cyprus, on July 20 — the anniversary of his country’s invasion to the Mediterranean island in 1974.
Erdogan stirred tensions on Monday by describing the anniversary as a “celebration of peace and freedom,” and promising to send a “strong message to the whole world” that Turkey will support the rights of the self-declared state of the Turkish Cypriots, which is not recognized by any other nation in the international community.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Erdogan said: “On July 20, we will be in the (self-declared) Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to attend the celebrations of ‘peace and freedom,’ we will go with a large delegation. On the first day of Eid we will be with our Turkish-Cypriot brothers and we will participate in the holidays of July 20th. In this way, we will send a strong message to the whole world that we support the efforts of TRNC to claim its rights.”
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar also said in the run-up to Erdogan’s visit that the Turkish president would send “strong messages” on July 20 from the Occupied Territories.
In this regard, Tatar insisted on a two-state solution, describing a sovereignty within the bi-zonal bi-communal federations as a “trap” for the Turkish Cypriots.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he hoped the bloc would not be forced to hold any extraordinary meetings in response to statements Erdogan might make regarding Varosha when he visits the north next week.