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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on Cyprus

President Obama and the United States welcome the meeting today of the two Cypriot leaders, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades and Mr. Dervish Eroglu, and the renewal of negotiations on a Cyprus settlement under the auspices of the United Nations.  The Joint Statement agreed by the two leaders reflects a spirit of compromise and lays a solid foundation for results-oriented talks. The United States congratulates the two leaders for the courage and vision that enabled them to reach agreement on this important statement, which embodies key principles to guide their further work.  The United States also welcomes the constructive role played in this effort by Turkey and Greece, led by Prime Minister Erdogan and Prime Minister Samaras, as well as other international parties.  The division of Cyprus has endured for far too long.  Through a settlement, both communities can realize their full potential, with enhanced stability and economic prosperity for all the people of the island.  We encourage the sides to work expeditiously to resolve the outstanding core issues and achieve a settlement that reunifies Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation at the earliest possible time.

The United States welcomes President Anastasiades’ proposal for a package of bold and innovative confidence-building measures and other constructive proposals, which have the potential, when agreed and implemented by the parties, to dramatically enhance cooperation between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and restore faith in settlement efforts.  The United States will engage in diplomacy with all stakeholders to explore possible initiatives to reinforce settlement negotiations, including measures aimed at the future revitalization of the Famagusta region, when agreed by the two communities.  The United States reaffirms its support for the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and develop the resources in its off-shore zones.  We continue to believe that the island’s oil and gas resources, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement.  We underscore the importance of upholding peace and security in and around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.  The United States urges all parties to avoid any threats or other actions or statements that escalate tension.