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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Press Availability Following Meeting With President Clerides

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Nicosia, Cyprus
December 4, 2002

I thank you all for coming out this morning. I also wanted to say what a pleasure it is to be here in Cyprus and what an honor it has been to make the acquaintance again of President Clerides. I've had the good fortune to visit with him on a number of occasions and it was a pleasure to be here this morning. My purpose here today is very simple -- which is to come here to visit with both sides on this island and say that in our view there is a very great opportunity waiting for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots over the next few days. There are many challenges and there are many difficulties, but we think this is a time of historic opportunity. As you well know, the United States of America has supported Cyprus' accession to the European Union. The United States of America also strongly supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General to bring a settlement to the Cyprus problem. And we have also supported the efforts of the European Union, and especially the courageous decision that they made in Helsinki in 1999 to try to bring these issues together. And so, my message today is a simple one and will be exactly the same here and on the Turkish Cypriot side, which is to say that there is an opportunity waiting for all of you and we hope very much that you will take it and we want to do everything we can to support you in that endeavor. I'll be glad to take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: If there is no agreement by Copenhagen, would that be a disaster?

U/S GROSSMAN: Well, you are assuming that there will not be an agreement. I'm assuming the opposite -- which is that people will see this opportunity and take it and that after Copenhagen we won't be using the word that you have used. We'll be using the words 'we have seized a great opportunity.'

REPORTER: Why does this great effort have to stop on December 12 if there is no agreement?

U/S GROSSMAN: I would say that President Clerides has just made a very important point that the world does not stop on the 12th of December. Indeed, the Secretary General's proposal is that people commit to the vision in his plan and then negotiate it for some months after. It's in the Secretary General's proposal itself. So, I don't think that anyone believes that the sun won't come up on the 13th of December, but what we're trying to say is that there is a possibility to get going here and make rapid progress. And we support the Secretary General's efforts and Mr. de Soto's in that regard. I'll take one more.

REPORTER: Have you identified any changes to the Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue during your visit there that make you optimistic?

U/S GROSSMAN: Well, obviously Turkish people will have to speak for themselves. I felt the day spent in Ankara yesterday with Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, led me to believe that there is an opportunity that exists and that the Turkish side, the Greek side, the Turkish government, the Greek government all should seize it. I left Ankara last night, as I reported to President Clerides, believing that there is a desire to take this opportunity. Thank you all very much.


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