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Weston says many provisions in Annan plan should change
2003-06-13 19:11:01

Larnaca, Jun 13 (CNA) - US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said today that many provisions in the Annan plan should change, given the fact that Cyprus has in the meantime signed the Accession Treaty to the EU and given the positive reaction of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots after the easing of Turkish occupation regime restrictions on free movement.

Weston, who arrived today on the island for talks on the Cyprus issue, reiterated that a solution to the Cyprus problem should be achieved before the actual accession of Cyprus to the EU, in May 2004.|

Referring to the political will for solving the Cyprus issue, Weston said that ''since the Greek Cypriot leader said in The Hague that he was willing to finalise the plan and to put it to referenda, and his position has not changed, obviously the phase where the necessary political will has to be expressed is the other side''.

''We are working for a restart (of the negotiations) as soon as possible'', he said, adding that the Cyprus problem is a priority issue for the US and that his country will continue its work for a just and viable solution.

Weston noted that during his contacts in Athens this week, he discussed ''what had to be changed in the Annan plan, what had to be finalised and what could be re-examined, given the different situation that existed when the Annan plan was presented, before Cyprus signed the Accession Treaty with the EU''.

''With Cyprus having actually signed the Accession Treaty, there is a need to re-examine certain provisions in the negotiations given the very positive experience that is taking place on the island'' with the easing of restrictions on free movement, Weston added.

He said that there were some other issues that had to be re-examined, which ''were raised by the government of Cyprus, like financial aspects of the plan''.

Weston noted that there was political will to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus issue, but added that there should be a demonstration of the political will to resume the UN effort, and an explicit agreement to finalise the Annan plan by a certain date and agreement to put the plan to simultaneous referenda.

Asked if he was optimistic that during his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Monday the latter would show good will for the solution of the problem, Weston said that he would not use the word optimism, ''given all of his (Denktash's) statements of the last weeks or months or years''.

He said that during his meeting with Denktash he would make every effort to obtain an answer from him that he would finalise the Annan plan and put it to a referendum.

''If you are asking whether I do expect to get that answer within the next couple of days, I could not honestly say'', Weston added.

He noted that there was no American plan or initiative suggesting some revision of the Annan plan.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest effort to reach a settlement collapsed when the Turkish side refused to put to a referendum the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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