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US welcomes measures in aid of a political settlement
2003-04-24 11:18:54

Nicosia, Apr 24 (CNA) -- The US has welcomed the easing of restrictions on free movement in Cyprus, stressing however that the ultimate goal remains a negotiated political settlement that would last.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington backs the principle of freedom of movement and is supportive of genuine measures aiming at increasing contact between the island's two communities.

He advocated the resumption of peace negotiations on the basis of a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement.|

Boucher made these statements after Wednesday's crossings by some 5,000 Cypriots, from both sides of the divide, into the northern Turkish-occupied areas and the southern government-controlled part of the country.

The crossings took place after the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime announced an easing of restrictions on the freedom of movement it had imposed for years on both Turkish Cypriots as well as Greek Cypriots, in an attempt to prove right its mistaken belief that the two communities can no longer live together.

''On the crossings, the reports I saw indicated that people had, indeed, been going both ways across the green line and that's a good thing. We strongly support the principle of freedom of movement and we welcome genuine measures that have the potential to increase contact and understanding between the two communities, and thus, improve the atmosphere in which to create a just and durable settlement,'' Boucher said.

He noted that numerous crossings of the Green Line took place on Wednesday by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and said '''we look forward to learning more about the measures and procedures for the implementation of these crossings.''

''The United States remains strongly committed to seeking a just and durable settlement to the Cyprus problem in the context of the UN Good Offices mission. We welcome any measures that contribute to that outcome,'' he said.

The US, he added, believe ''the way to a comprehensive settlement that's called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1475 is for the sides to resume talks under the auspices of the UN Good Offices mission and on the basis of the Secretary General's just and comprehensive peace plan.''

CNA MM/GP/2003
24/04/2003 24/04/2003

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