Mr. Speaker, I rise today on the heels of the 40th anniversary of a divided Cyprus. A division that has left both Turkish and Greek Cypriots bogged down in an unacceptable status quo that continues to impede economic and social progress on the island. Until these differences are resolved, all Cypriots will feel the negative effects of this division and Cyprus will be unable to realize its full potential in the international community.
This past February represented a significant shift in the deadlock when both Cypriot leaders resumed long-stalled negotiations and issued a joint statement outlining principles the two sides will use to work toward a reunification of Cyprus. Both sides have met regularly since this announcement and real progress is being made. That said, many controversial issues remain and the path forward will be a difficult one. This makes it even more important that the United States Congress, the administration, the United Nations, Turkey, Greece and other stakeholders remain engaged and continue to encourage expeditious, good-faith negotiations on both sides.
I believe these negotiations represent a historic opportunity to put all Cypriots on a path to peace and prosperity. During this process, it’s important that all parties remain focused on the future of Cyprus and refrain from inflammatory dialogue that serves only to derail progress. A comprehensive settlement is within reach, and I would encourage my colleagues to support this effort.