US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he hoped for a return to an equilibrium that would allow the reunification process to move forward after talks were suspended when Turkey dispatched a research vessel inside the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Replying to a question by Senator Robert Menendez during a session of the Senate`s Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said that he had discussed the situation with Ankara.
“I’ve had conversations with the Turkish foreign minister about it. Previously, now-Prime Minister Davutoglu, and we were working quite closely on it. My hope is we could get back to an equilibrium that would allow us to move forward. But we specifically discussed the economic zone, the ship presence, and the gas rights and so forth,” he said.
The US Secretary of State said he intended to visit the area in the not too distant future , adding that one of the discussions would be how do we move on Cyprus in a more effective way.
“Turkey has gone into the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, put its ships there, followed with warships. It’s pretty outrageous,” Menendez said.
He also expressed the hope the US to be stronger with the Turkish government on the issue.
“This is another one of those elements of violating international norms and not having any real consequence of the message you send globally, is you can do that if you happen to be the stronger party”, Menendez added.
The US Secretary of State said that this issue has been raised in meetings with the president of Cyprus and the Turkish prime minister.
“I don’t know when, but in the not too distant future, I think I am slated to head in that direction, and this would be one of the conversations, how do we move on Cyprus in a more effective(way),” he said.
Intervening again, Menendez expressed hope that the US will be vigorous about Cyprus.
“I hope we can be vigorous about the part that if you want to get a negotiation forward, you can’t have your warships off the coast of the country,” he said.
Anastasiades pulled out of reunification talks in October last year after Turkey dispatched Barbaros to carry out seismic research inside the island’s EEZ. Turkey refuses to withdraw the ship and has extended its mission until April 6.