US State Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer is in Nicosia to discuss the arms embargo on Cyprus, State Department Director, Office of Southern European Affairs, Yuri Kim has said, noting that the first thing to do is understand what is wanted and then decide how to get there.
Yuri Kim was on a panel discussion at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), in Washington, along with former US Ambassadors to Greece and Cyprus, Daniel Smith and Kathleen Doherty, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority side chief advisor Damien Murphy.
Kim said strengthening ties with Cyprus is to the benefit of the United States, as is enhancing relations with Greece as well.
Referring to Cyprus-US bilateral relations, Kim said “there have been many practical steps taken and we are going to continue that,” adding that “this is precisely the reason Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer is on the plane now to Nicosia.”
“Last month we had a Deputy Assistant Secretary from our counterterrorist bureau in Nicosia. Before an Assistant Secretary from the Treasury Department to work on improving the transparency of the banking sector,” Kim noted.
She added that “there are lots of things that we want to do and we need to do, but in these things must you keep in mind it’s a two-way street, it takes two to tango.”
“For all the things we would like to do, we are going to need our partners on the island to also. They are showing they are ready, we still want to do more so we will keep that up,” she said.
Kim noted that “over the next few weeks and months you will also see little bit more action, some are involving strong congressional interest - always very helpful- but in reality there will be things happening that we surely won’t advertise.”
Regarding the US stance on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Kim said “we have policy regarding peacekeeping operations” in general, one of the being that “there has to be an exit strategy” and a second being that “these peacekeeping operations have to be in support of the political process, not in place of the political process.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.