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US envoy: identity of views on need for a settlement
2003-06-17 09:27:20

Nicosia, Jun 17 (CNA) -- The US and the Cyprus House of Representatives share the view that an effort must be made to find a political settlement to enable a reunited country to join the European Union in May 2004.

Statements to this effect were made by US special coordinator for Cyprus at the US State Department Ambassador Thomas Weston and President of the House Demetris Christofias, who assured the US envoy of the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to resume negotiations on the basis of a UN peace proposal.|

''We had a very thorough and friendly discussion. We do have a great coincidence of views both on the analysis of the situation of what is necessary in order to find a way ahead and the same commitment to the same goal which is to get a settlement so that a unified Cyprus can join the EU in May 2004,'' Weston said after the meeting.

He refrained from further comment, referring journalists to his press conference later this afternoon.

Speaking after the hour-long meeting, Christofias welcomed Weston warmly and said he had a ''very friendly and frank'' discussion. He thanked him for his efforts to revive the stalled peace process and help find a settlement.

''I have assured him of our readiness to negotiate, any time the UN Secretary General asks us to do so, on the basis of his peace plan with a view at concluding negotiations, if the Turkish Cypriot side wants that too, in order to have the necessary time to explain to the people what the solution entails,'' Christofias said.

He said they discussed the difficulties relating to this effort, noting that these concern the situation in Turkey and the balance of powers in that country between those who want Turkey to join the EU and those who believe the Cyprus question is more important than accession.

The House President said that during the meeting it was stressed that the measures to promote trust between the island's two communities cannot substitute a settlement and that hard work is needed to achieve an agreement.

''What is important now is to overcome the intransigence of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and of some circles in Turkey,'' he said.

Asked if any pressure was exerted on the Greek Cypriot side for unilateral compromises, he said he did not think this was the time for such kind of pressure, noting the current effort is directed towards the resumption of the dialogue.

''I wish and hope that, bearing in mind our good will and everything that we have accepted so far, this will never occur,'' he said.

Weston, who arrived Friday for talks with both sides, leaves Wednesday.

CNA MM/GP/2003
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