U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on March 10 that the United States supports the reunification of Cyprus as a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.”
“We strongly support a comprehensive settlement that will reunite Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We will be involved in the effort to advance this perspective, including support for the pivotal role of the United Nations, as well as direct US involvement in the effort. I think you will see the full involvement of American diplomacy,” Blinken said, as he testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Blinken's comments come as the United Nations will convene a meeting of parties in the Cyprus dispute in Geneva on April 27-29, the first such meeting since 2017 when talks about the divided island collapsed in disarray.
“I want to know before the start of talks on the Cyprus issue announced by the UN Secretary-General for April what the strategy will be to address the obsession of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot leader with the two-state solution and the opening of the ghost town of Varosha. Both contradict the United Nations resolutions and the American policy,” Blinken said.
The meeting in Geneva will also include representatives from Greece, Turkey and Britain, which were guarantors of Cyprus’s sovereignty upon independence in 1960.
Cyprus was split between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup in 1974. The conflict has long caused tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and has complicated any effort to tap potential energy resources around the Mediterranean island.
Each side has sought to stress their red lines as the summit draws closer. Greek Cypriots and their Greek allies want reunification of the island under a federal umbrella, while Turkish Cypriots and Turkey seek a two-state solution.
Blinken: Turkey violates int'l law with 'provocative actions' in Med Sea
Blinken on March 10 also commented on the eastern Mediterranean dispute between Turkey and Greece, saying energy and territorial disputes should be resolved "peacefully, diplomatically, not military and certainly not through provocative actions."
He called Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean "provocative" but voiced optimism about a "diminution in temperature."
“We have criticized actions, including by Turkey, which violate international law and its NATO commitments, including its provocative actions against Greece and its airspace violations,” Blinken was quoted as saying by Greek City Times.
"Now I think one of the positive developments has been in recent weeks a significant diminution in the temperature on those issues with Turkey engaged with the European Union, and others to try to move forward in a more productive way," he said. "So we’re very supportive of that, and we’ll continue to try to help things advance in that direction."
The comments come as Turkey and Greece prepare for a second round of exploratory talks this year aimed at finding solutions to disputes regarding the eastern Mediterranean.
The next round of consultative talks between the countries will be held in Athens on March 16-17, and are expected to focus on bilateral disputes, including maritime boundaries and drilling rights in the region.