Statement by John Koenig, United States Ambassador to the Republic Of Cyprus on the Occasion of the Presentation of Credentials to his Excellency Demetris Christofias, President of the Republic of Cyprus
September 12, 2012
I am deeply honored that President Obama has asked me to represent the United States of America as Ambassador to Cyprus. It is a privilege to be able to return to this beautiful island and continue building our bilateral relationship. The gathering of Cypriot-Americans here in recent days is illustrative of the many ties that exist between our two countries and of the common values, aspirations, and heritage that undergird our partnership.
Now more than ever our partnership is critical for advancing shared goals and values on the global agenda. Cyprus has taken on a key leadership role as Presidency of the European Union, and has the opportunity to shape how Europe addresses the challenges facing the region. As a transatlantic friend and partner, we want to keep working closely with you on a full range of issues. Together, we can make progress on fighting terrorism, preventing proliferation, combating trafficking-in-persons, and protecting human rights. Cyprus is uniquely positioned to promote stability and democracy across the Mediterranean in a time of rapid and profound change.
No issue is more pressing than putting the global economy back on track to achieve sustained growth and to create new jobs, particularly for young people just starting to make their way in the world. The United States has pledged to stand by our European partners as they make difficult but important economic reforms to advance these objectives. We need strong and prosperous European allies if we are to succeed in meeting today’s global challenges. For our part, we will strive to promote increased trade and investment, including in Cyprus’ energy sector. The United States remains committed to achieving diversity and stability in global energy markets. We hope that the discovery of hydrocarbons will benefit all citizens of Cyprus, which underscores the need for a comprehensive settlement that ends the long-standing division of the island.
Mr. President, I want to assure you that my top priority as Ambassador will be to support efforts to reunite Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We remain committed to a just and lasting solution.
The progress made under the auspices of the UN Good Offices Mission must be preserved and built upon. While we recognize this is a Cypriot-led and Cypriot-owned process, the United States is ready to assist, and we will remain actively engaged in both communities. The reasons are clear. The status quo is unacceptable and has gone on for far too long. It prevents the two communities from realizing their full potential and impacts not only the future of all Cypriots, but also the stability of the region.
By achieving a lasting peace, Cypriots will set a positive example for the rest of the world and unleash new opportunities for prosperity. There is no doubt that Cyprus's most valuable asset is its people. I am particularly pleased that hundreds of Cypriots, from both communities, choose to seek higher education in the United States each year. This is something we will continuously strive to expand as we build ties among students, academics, and institutions of higher learning in our two countries.
As I assume the role of Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus, I am eager to reinforce and expand the partnership between our two countries in areas of common interest. I also look forward to engaging Cypriots in all communities to understand their hopes for the future and how we might pursue those goals together.
Thank you, Mr. President.