06 April, 2006
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her country's continued interest in a solution to the Cyprus issue, responding to a question posed by Representative Steven Rothman, while she testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee here on Wednesday.
Rothman asked Rice to explain the Bush administration's decision to end US funding of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus in the 2007 budget.
"I know that we have not provided funding for the peacekeeping force. More obviously, we - if it remains needed - we'll find a way to deal with its needs. But let me just say that I don't think anybody could misinterpret U.S. interest in Cyprus or a Cyprus settlement," she said.
She pointed out that during the period of the Annan plan - drafted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - the US worked exhaustively - even on a presidential level - in an effort to make the plan acceptable to both sides.
According to Rice, the US considered the Annan plan a good compromise for both sides.
"We recognize that the Greek Cypriots did not agree, and they voted it down. But we're back at it. We're working again very hard to see if we can help narrow the differences," she said.
Finally, Rice also referred to her recent meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, saying that the two discussed the Cyprus issue.
"I don't think anybody can say that the United States is not totally devoted to trying to find a Cyprus settlement. We are," she said.
Source: Athens News Agency