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US to watch closely ''elections'' in occupied Cyprus
2003-09-09 19:30:07

Nicosia, Sep 9 (CNA) ? The United States' envoy on Cyprus has warned Ankara against any attempt to rig the vote in December's ''elections'' in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.

As reported by AFP, special coordinator at the State Department Ambassador Weston said "elections" in northern Cyprus amounted to a referendum on EU membership and are ''far too important over whether or not there will be a Cyprus settlement.''

''We would be very concerned about anything which could be regarded as unfair and undemocratic elections,'' Weston said in Rome, as he wound up a 10-day trip to European capitals where he discussed the Cyprus issue.

Referring to concerns over a recent influx of Turks to the occupied northern part of Cyprus in view of the ''elections'', he said ''we are going to be watching very closely.''

He noted that ''if they were to have anything other than the normal growth of population, we would regard that as unfair and undemocratic.''

Referring to efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Weston said he believed a plan put forward by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ''is the only thing which has any chance of achieving a settlement in time''.

He added that the Turkish Cypriot so-called ''opposition parties'' who agreed last week to form a common platform against Denktash in the December "poll" had created a ''fluid'' situation which provided an opportunity for achieving a settlement.

''We are on a very tight timetable. The situation will change in a very fundamental way practically, legally and politically, after May 1st,'' the US official said. Commenting on Turkish Cypriot leader's stance, he concluded ''Mr Denktash wants a solution, unfortunately the solution he sees is a solution that is not realistic.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island?s territory.

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