U.S. Senator Bob Menendez issued a statement expressing strong opposition to comments made by U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig on Wednesday at the University of Cyprus where he said, that he did not regard the Cyprus problem as a problem of invasion and occupation.
“Cyprus is divided today because Turkey invaded and occupied the island over 40 years ago,” says the statement by Senator Menendez, adding that it is an undisputed historical fact and the violation of Cypriot sovereignty is at its core most certainly a problem of invasion and occupation.
“That is why I strongly oppose the comments of U.S. Ambassador Koenig on this difficult topic for the Greek Cypriot community and its leadership who are striving to achieve a peaceful and meaningful resolution to this conflict”, he points out.
The Ambassador remarks, he adds, only complicate that effort to produce a lasting peace for all Cypriots and does not reflect U.S. policy or views.
“Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean region is poised for tremendous economic growth and opportunity, and these comments create additional challenges at a hopeful time that are unnecessary and regrettable,” concludes the statement.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. A new round of UN-backed talks resumed last month with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.