US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says American diplomacy will be “fully engaged” on the Cyprus issue, with Washington calling out aggressive actions in the eastern Mediterranean but also supporting positive developments.
While testifying on Wednesday evening before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken responded to questions on Cyprus as well as a range of issues on future relations with Russia and China, the Iran nuclear deal, Middle East policy, border security, and diversity at the State Department.
Responding to a question by Democratic Congressman David Nicola Cicilline, who pointed out “substantial experience” between Blinken and President Joe Biden on Cyprus reunification, the secretary said his boss took the issue “very - very seriously.”
“We strongly support a comprehensive settlement that reunifies Cyprus in a Bizonal, bicommunal federation. We will engage in the effort to advance that prospect, including supporting the critical role of the United Nations, as well as direct American engagement in that effort. I think you will see American diplomacy fully engaged” Blinken said.
'We’ve been very concerned about some of the aggressive actions we’ve seen in the eastern Mediterranean, we have and will continue to call them out'
But Republic Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis called on Blinken to give a “more clear statement” on the administration’s stance “regarding the illegal occupation of Cyprus by Turkey and what can be done to stop Turkish aggression in the Mediterranean and the Aegean.”
“We’ve been very concerned about some of the aggressive actions we’ve seen in the eastern Mediterranean. We have and will continue to call them out,” he said, while clarifying he was referring to actions including those by Turkey against Greece.
Blinken also told Malliotakis that “one of the positive developments is Turkey’s more positive engagement in recent weeks with the EU in particular in that area. And so we are hopeful that temperature at least in that area will continue to go down and remain low.”
Democratic Congresswoman Alice Costandina "Dina" Titus asked the state secretary whether he saw the US play a role in the EuroAsia connector and the trilateral agreement between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel, in terms of energy independence.
Blinken told Titus that they would certainly look to see if there was a productive role that the US could play “in that or any other arrangements.”
“When it comes to energy and diversifying supplies and routes, this is something that advances our own security and the security of other countries, including partner countries, so we will always look at whether we can play a productive role” he added.