Weston: US and Greece have great coincidence on Cyprus
by Demetris Apokis
Washington, Sep 17 (CNA) -- US and Greece have a great coincidence of views on all aspects related to the Cyprus problem and also on the way ahead, US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said after meeting here Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Papandreou said that his impression from the meeting is that the US has the intention to continue to contribute to the achievement of progress to the Cyprus problem, based on the UN decisions. He also noted that the solution of the Cyprus problem remains a basic goal of the Greek foreign policy and that there is now a momentum on this issue.
Weston and Papandreou also discussed the issue of the illegal elections that will take place in December in Cyprus' Turkish- occupied areas noting their importance as regards developments in the Cyprus problem.
Weston said the US has been working towards the recommencement of the UN good offices mission ''meaning a return to talks, and the movement towards a referendum in a time-scale that permits a settlement by May 1, by the actual date of the accession of Cyprus to the EU. Whether these talks start now or after December, the important point is that they start in sufficient time to permit a settlement by May 1,'' he added.
Answering a question, Weston said UN Secretary General ''is very firm in his position that the efforts, his good offices mission, would recommence only when there has been a necessary expression of political will by the Turkish Cypriot community leader, by the Greek Cypriot community leader, and at a high political level of both Greece and Turkey.''
The US diplomat said ''that is a position unanimously supported by the Security Council, certainly supported by the United States.''
Invited to comment the fact that in his annual report to the UN General Assembly on the work of the United Nations Annan expressed regret because there has been no progress on Cyprus, Weston said Annan was expressing regret that he has not yet seen that necessary demonstration of political will by all the parties involved. ''And that of course would be a regret which we would share,'' he added.
Weston said he discussed with Papandreou the way ahead in particular activities on the fringes of the UN General Assembly meeting next week in New York.
''We were able to exchange assessments on all elements of the Cyprus question as well as to discuss associated issues going on on the island,'' Weston noted.
Papandreou said they evaluated developments in the Cyprus problem and how these could be used to achieve progress in the settlement procedure.
He noted that Kofi Annan's plan constitutes a basis for negotiations and that the solution of the Cyprus problem and Turkey's position on the issue will be one of the basic criteria for the evaluation of Ankara's European course, that will take place December 2004.