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Grossman pledges US energetic support to Cyprus solution efforts
2003-09-26 17:57:45

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis

United Nations, Sep 26 (CNA) - The US remains energetically and squarely involved in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman pledged here Friday after a meeting with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

President Papadopoulos said there is a difference of views regarding whether or not observers should be sent to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus during the so-called ''parliamentary elections'' later this year.

The President also said there is the view that the ''elections'' will open up new prospects for a Cyprus settlement.

In his statements, Grossman said he told the President ''that the US is squarely and energetically for a solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that is fair and good for all the parties''.

Furthermore, he said the US continues ''to be impressed with the efforts of the Secretary General, to be impressed with the plan of the Secretary General'', adding that he had ''the chance to listen the President's observation, where he thinks we are going''.

Invited by CNA to say what the obstacle was in efforts to bring about a solution, Grossman said ''the obstacles are, people in all sides need to commit themselves in resolving this problem''.

He reiterated that the US ''continues to believe that the possibility for Turkey's entry to the EU is a positive thing'' and expressed certainty that ''the path Cyprus is in now for the EU is a positive thing''.

Grossman further stressed that ''we ought to use the time between now and during next year''.

President Papadopoulos said that during the meeting, the view that the so-called ''elections'' in the Turkish occupied areas, scheduled for December, would open up some prospects for progress to the Cyprus problem was repeated.

Regarding the issue of observers monitoring the ''elections'', President Papadopoulos said he explained the government's position that ''the usefulness (of observers) is based on whether they will have the right to check the electoral lists to see if there are any settlers registered and how many'', adding that ''it is not a matter of dispute but of different views''.

Asked if the weight of efforts would shift from May 2004 to December 2004, when the decision for Turkey to be given a date to start accession negotiation will be taken, President Papadopoulos said he did not want to make predictions because ''our firm position is that we are ready for negotiations under the UN chief's aegis''.

''There is the Annan plan and without preconditions he can invite us for negotiations'', the President added.

He further said the Americans ''understand our right to ask for changes and understand that the changes will be useful, making the Annan Plan more viable''.

President Papadopoulos said he believes ''there is a shift from the previous position, that the Annan Plan is sacred and intact as it stands, and that no changes should be made apart from the completion of legislation and the unavoidable change of dates''.

Referring to his meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan, Papadopoulos said the UN chief listened to his views but did not express any opinions. ''My belief is that he understands them'', he concluded.

President Papadopoulos will attend a lunch later Friday, hosted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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