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US supports Annan's efforts
2003-02-28 11:23:02

by Demetris Apokis -- Washington, Feb 28 (CNA) -- US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said his country continued to support UN Secretary General's efforts for a Cyprus settlement and stood ready to help ''if there was anything in addition he would like us to do in the days ahead.''

Powell, who was speaking at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou after the US-EU ministerial meeting, said he would be in touch with the SG in the next days or so ''to see what we might do in this period to encourage both sides to be willing to yield somewhat in their positions in order to achieve an agreement.''|

The Cyprus problem was one of the issues highlighting Papandreou's meetings here in his capacity as President of the European Council of Ministers.

Both Ministers pointed out during their presser that Annan's initiative on Cyprus, with the submission of his proposals for a comprehensive settlement, offers a historic opportunity for a solution.

Answering a question by CNA, Powell said that he had a telephone conversation with Annan Wednesday evening, during which the SG gave him a report on his discussions in Cyprus.

Annan is currently on a visit to the island. He has presented the two sides with a third peace plan, following the original on 11 November 2002 and a revised one on 10 December 2002.

''I told him we continued to support his efforts, and if there was anything in addition he would like us to do in the days ahead, we stand ready to help,'' he added.

Powell said he had seen reports that Annan was now looking at March 10th as a potential date to shift the deadline for a meeting in The Hague.

''I'll be in touch with him again in the next day or so to see what we might do in this period to encourage both sides to be willing to yield somewhat in their positions in order to achieve an agreement. That has been long coming and is very badly, badly needed,'' the US Secretary of State added.

Papandreou also met yesterday with US President's National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, with whom he discussed developments in the Cyprus problem.

The Greek minister said after the meeting ''there is an absolute support to the UN Secretary General's efforts. Most certain it is a significant opportunity, we have to seize.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.

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

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