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US still committed to a Cyprus settlement
2003-03-14 17:46:57

Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA)-- Despite the failure of the UN-led talks in The Hague, the United Stated are committed to seeking a just and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem, Assistant Secretary of State, head of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Beth Jones has said.

Briefing the Congress on US relations with Europe, Jones expressed regret for the failure of the talks in The Hague for the solution of the Cyprus problem and she accused Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash of not allowing the Turkish Cypriots to decide on their future.|

''In Cyprus we have strongly supported the efforts of the UN Secretary General to achieve a settlement before Cyprus signs the EU accession treaty April 16, so Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would enjoy the benefits of EU membership,'' she said.

''We were deeply disappointed that the Secretary General's talks with the two leaders in The Hague did not result in an agreement to put his plan to referenda in both communities'' Jones added, noting that ''we regret in particular that Mr Denktash refused to allow to the Turkish Cypriots to decide for themselves on their future''.

However, Jones indicated that ''despite this setback, the US remains committed to seeking a just and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem.''

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

UN efforts to secure a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, based on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's third plan, came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he was not prepared to agree to a referendum on the UN plan and raised fundamental objections to basic points in it.


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