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US diplomat believes movement of people does not settle division
2003-05-05 18:48:56

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- New York, May 5 (CNA) -- The movement of people across the lines in Cyprus does not settle the division of the island, and the complicated questions relating to property and security, and how to bring Turkish Cypriots within the acquis communautaire, questions that remain to be addressed in a comprehensive settlement, US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston has said.

In an interview with Greek American weekly newspaper ''Greek News'', Weston, who plans to visit Cyprus in June, said he was ''optimistic that there will be other positive measures''.|

The American diplomat says he is surprised that there have been so few problems, regardless of the vast movement of people across the lines, and described as minimal the few incidents of friction that occurred.

Replying to questions about the recent events in Cyprus, Weston said that although visually they could look like that which the world had witnessed in Berlin in 1989, they are fundamentally different in content.

''I think in Berlin in 1989, we were seeing basically the collapse of the Warsaw pact, among other things. I think what we are seeing in Cyprus is a combination of the kind of reaction to long suppressed feelings on the part of both communities of the isle, to know one another and to be with one another and to some extent to demonstrate that they are all Cypriots together'', he said.

Weston said that another element which contributed to it, was the great disappointment on the part of the people of Cyprus, both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, when The Hague talks in March failed to get a Cyprus settlement.

He said it would be very difficult from now and on to stop the channels of contact.

''This is not a one-time shot. Many of these people, at any rate, will remain in contact and develop their relationships with one another in whatever means they can. There is a real wish to form relationships among Cypriots and I know that will change and I do not think it can be stopped while it has started'', he said.

The American diplomat says that many people have played a role in these developments, including the United States and UNFICYP.

Weston disagrees with the view that recent events left behind the UN Secretary General's plan and that many key questions remain to be answered and this can only be done in a comprehensive settlement.

He said there are all kinds of areas where ''positive developments are likely''.

''I think we just have to wait and see. I would have to add to that, I am optimistic that there will be other positive measures'', he added.

Weston told Greek News that the US is expecting people in Cyprus to do everything possible to improve conditions on the island, to remove the division and to get a comprehensive settlement.

Invited to say if he expects an early resumption of the talks, he said that the United States and himself would be doing everything possible to see that they do.


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