"The United States expresses its deep concern over the recent violence on Cyprus and our shock and sadness over the killing of two Greek Cypriot civilians and the injuring of several other persons, including two U.N. peacekeepers.
We particularly deplore the actions of the Turkish Cypriot security forces in firing on protesters two days ago. The use of force on this occasion, as well as during the original incident on Sunday, was disproportionate to the threat posed by the protesters, notwithstanding the then-unauthorized entry into the U.S. buffer zone.
The United States believes that those who were responsible for these acts should be held accountable for them. We call on the Turkish Cypriot security forces and the Turkish military forces on Cyprus to adhere to internationally accepted norms and to avoid the use of lethal force in non-life-threatening situations.
The United States also strongly urges both sides on Cyprus to exercize restraint, to take steps immediately to reduce tensions and to restrain unauthorized entry into the U.N. buffer zones.
The tragic events of the past few days underscore once again the urgent need to reach a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus. The United States will continue its current efforts to seek common ground between the two communities and achieve a lasting agreement on a bicommunal, bizonal federation that will enable all Cypriots to live together at some point in the future, we hope, in a more peaceful and prosperous Cyprus."
QUESTION: On your Cyprus statement, how worried are you about Cyprus? ...
MR. BURNS: David, the situation is very worrisome on Cyprus. . . . You know that the United Nations has issued a report on the events of August 11, and you know that that report is quite critical of the Turkish-Cypriot police who participated in the fatal beating attack against the Greek Cypriot.
The U.N. says that these acts were deplorable. The United States joins the United Nations in that assessment.
. . . .
Let me also say this. We know there are some comments by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mrs. Ciller, this morning about the sanctity of flags. Well, the United States bows to no one in our respect and deference for national flags. This is the sentiment shared by countries all over the world.
But, frankly, protection of a flag cannot excuse the horrible events of August 14. Human life and the sanctity of human life are ultimately more important than protecting a piece of cloth.
The reaction of the Turkish Cypriot security forces was entirely disproportional to the events.