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Britain calls on Cypriot sides to seize chance for solution
2003-02-07 09:34:57

Nicosia, Feb 7 (CNA) -- Britain believes there is now a historic opportunity to find a political settlement in Cyprus and is urging the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides to seize the chance for a solution.

''We believe that there is a historic opportunity to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in Cyprus by 28 February, based on the UN Secretary General's 10 December proposals and allow a reunited island to accede to the EU,'' British Minister of State Denis MacShane has said in a written reply to questions at the House of Commons.|

Expressing London's ''strong support'' for the UN settlement process, he said ''we urge the two sides not to let this opportunity slip away.''

The UN has asked the two sides to reach by end of February agreement on a comprehensive settlement on the basis of Annan's proposals.

MacShane said that Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and himself had ''wide-ranging and full contacts on the Cyprus settlement with European colleagues in the run up to the Copenhagen European Council'' in December last year.

The Council said the UN proposals offer a unique opportunity to reach a settlement and urged the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to seize the opportunity.

MacShane said Britain has maintained regular contacts with the two sides on the island and its special representative Lord David Hannay has visited Nicosia and Ankara.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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