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Bush pledges to continue efforts for Cyprus settlement
2003-02-24 01:34:03

by Demetris Apokis-- Washington, Feb 21 (CNA) -- US President George Bush has pledged that his administration would continue to encourage all relevant parties to maintain a spirit of compromise and a commitment to reaching an agreement for the solution of the Cyprus problem by the end of the month.

The US President's stance is included in his bimonthly report on progress towards a negotiated solution of the Cyprus question, covering the period December 1, 2002, through January 31, 2003.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, President Bush said his administration ''was particularly active during this reporting period in supporting UN Secretary-General Annan's efforts to foster a comprehensive Cyprus settlement on the basis of the plan he has proposed.''

''Although such a settlement did not emerge at the European Union's Summit in Copenhagen in December, intense diplomatic activity has continued,'' Bush said.

He noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell, Under Secretary Marc Grossman, Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston, and Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson "are encouraging all relevant parties to maintain a spirit of compromise and a commitment to reaching an agreement by February 28, 2003.''

''I will do the same as part of our continuing commitment to the UN effort to find a just and lasting settlement for Cyprus,'' President Bush concluded.|

UN-led direct talks between the two sides in Cyprus have been going on since January 2002. The UN is trying to have an agreement signed within the timeframe of 28 February 2003, as set by SG Kofi Annan, in an effort to give enough time for referenda to be prepared and a re-united Cyprus to sign the Accession Treaty with the European Union on 16 April.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory.


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