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Powel: US firmly committed to a Cyprus settlement
2003-04-17 09:49:54

By Dimitris Apokis-- Washington, Apr 17 (CNA) -- The United States remains firmly committed to working along with others to find a just and durable settlement for Cyprus, US Secretary of State Colin Powel has stressed.

Speaking yestreday at a reception given by the Greek Embassy in Washington to celebrate the signing of the Accession Treaty of the European Union by ten new members, including Cyprus, Powel noted that ''as Europe unites and works with us for peace and reconciliation across the globe, all of us are aware that one of the European Union's new members remains divided''.

''The United States remains firmly committed to working with you and others to find a just and durable settlement for Cyprus,'' Powel said.|

He also welcomed the EU goal for the membership of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 and the decision ''to begin accession negotiations with Turkey if in December 2004 the European Council has decided that Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria.''

''As we have said this is a visionary decision by European leaders to build a truly inclusive Union, we urge our Turkish friends to meet the Copenhagen criteria,'' he said.

Referring to the EU enlargement, he said that the US, as a member of the larger transatlantic family, is pleased to join in the celebration of the historic signing in Athens today (yesterday) of Accession Treaty and applauds the Greek presidency on its energetic leadership of the European Union during this important time of its expansion.

''It is fair indeed that Athens, the birthplace of democracy, is host to this path breaking event for Europe and for the rest of the world as well,'' said the US Secretary of State, noting the US will continue to be a strong supporter of EU's further expansion which is ''good for the individual countries abroad, good for Europe as a whole and good for transatlantic relationship.''

CNA DA/KN/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
17/04/2003

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