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US to work closely with new Cyprus President
2003-02-21 00:03:50

by Demetris Apokis-- Washington, Feb 20 (CNA) -- The US wants to build on the strong relationship it has with Cyprus and intends to work with president- elect Tassos Papadopoulos to further develop bilateral ties, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said.

Boucher thanked outgoing President Glafcos Clerides for his contribution to the cause of peace on Cyprus and for the strong bilateral relationship that was built during his administration. |

Clerides, who hands over power to Papadopoulos at the end of the month after his defeat at Sunday's polls, has served two five-year terms as President of the Republic. Papadopoulos got 51.51 per cent of the vote and Clerides 38.80 per cent.

''We congratulate Mr Tassos Papadopoulos on his election as the fifth President of the Republic of Cyprus. The US has a strong relationship with Cyprus and both countries have benefited from our cooperation in the war on terrorism and other vital issues,'' Boucher said.

He said the US ''look forward to building further on that foundation. We also thank outgoing President Clerides for his significant contributions to the cause of peace on the island and for our strong bilateral relationship that we built during his administration.''

''We respect the outcome of Cyprus' democratic elections. We intend to work with the new president to build on our strong record of bilateral cooperation. Achieving a just and durable settlement on the basis of the UN plan is the most immediate and pressing issue, especially in the light of Ambassador Weston's and UN Secretary General's upcoming visits to Cyprus,'' he said.

Kofi Annan is due in Cyprus next week, and Weston will be on the island tomorrow Friday for contacts.

Asked if the US still had reservations, expressed in the past, about Papadopoulos, Boucher replied ''as I said, we respect the outcome of Cyprus' democratic elections and we intend to work with the new president to build on our strong foundations.''

CNA DA/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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