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US to do everything possible for a 'yes' response to referenda
2003-03-02 07:36:36

Larnaca, Mar 2 (CNA) ? US State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, said he leaves the island encouraged by the two sides' acceptance to go to The Hague, adding the US will do everything possible to encourage a 'yes' response to the UN Secretary-General's request for referenda on his third peace plan for Cyprus, on March 30, 2003.

Speaking to reporters before departing to the US, Weston referred to the "high level of activity which has been going on, most particularly the SG's most admirable efforts to do everything possible to achieve a settlement to the division of the island".

The US diplomat said "we are now in a situation in which both leaders have said that they will be meeting with the Secretary-General in The Hague a week from tomorrow and that is an encouraging sign".

"We the US are of course very interested that when they meet with the SG in The Hague that they have the answer yes to his question which is will they commit to a referendum", he said.|

Weston added that yesterday he spent a good deal of the day in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus and had "many discussions about the nature of the referendum with the political leadership there".

"I am obviously very hopeful and it is the position of the US that we would like to see this go to a referendum as the SG has requested" and that "we intend and do whatever we can as a nation, the US to encourage a yes response to the SG's question".

Invited to comment on Rauf Denktash's negative statements on a referendum, Weston said, "you may know the answer. I don't. I know what I hope it will be".

Weston went on to say Denktash had told him he wants to consult his illegal "government" and "parliament", including Turkey before replying. "My hope, my wish is that the answer will be yes to a referendum", he said.

Regarding his participation at a mass rally in the occupied north on Thursday, Weston said he and Ambassador Michael Klosson, attended it and observed it.

The US diplomat said "?what we observed was a very positive demonstration" and an epidemic of democracy type of demonstrations which convey a very positive message.

Weston added their presence at the rally gave a "strong message in support of democracy".

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


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