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Weston: Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue
2003-09-03 17:21:40

by Nicos Bellos

Brussels, Sep 3 (CNA) - US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston met today in Brussels with European Commission officials, in the context of a tour he began yesterday in London regarding the Cyprus problem.

Speaking to reporters, Weston said confidence-building measures in Cyprus would not be considered a substitute to a comprehensive settlement, adding that Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue if it wants to begin negotiations for accession to the EU.

Weston said he would also be visiting Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in mid-October, after he has wrapped up meetings with EU member states. After Brussels, Weston will travel to Berlin, Paris and Rome, before flying back to the US.

Today, Weston met with officials from the General Directorate of German Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, who is currently on a visit to the Baltic countries.

Weston also met with a representative of the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Defence Policy Javier Solana and representatives of Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Michel.

The US diplomat said that during the meetings views were exchanged regarding developments in the Cyprus problem since May, when he had made his last tour.

He added that the US maintains a very active role in the context of the UN Security Council and supports all UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's efforts to reach a settlement.

Weston noted that some confidence-building measures have been implemented but noted that in no case would these measures substitute a comprehensive settlement.

He furthermore said the US ''do not see how it will be possible'' for Turkey to meet its aspirations for opening accession talks with the EU ''unless there is a solution to the Cyprus problem'', noting that there is still time to reach a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan before Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU in May 2004.

''Turkey should be doing more on the Cyprus issue,'' he said.

On the recent signing of the so-called ?framework agreement for a customs union? between Turkey and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied north of Cyprus, Weston said it could prove problematic.

He said ?there are real questions which need to be answered by Turkey?, on the deal.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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