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US sees strong political signal from Sunday's Turkish Cypriot poll
2003-12-15 17:54:07

Nicosia, Dec 15 (CNA) -- The US has said that Turkish Cypriots have sent a very strong political signal of support for a UN peace proposal and accession to the European Union and they have cast a vote of hope instead of fear, in spite of pressures exerted on them.

US Ambassador here Michael Klosson, commenting on the outcome of Sunday's ''parliamentary elections'' in Turkish occupied Cyprus, pointed out that now the parties concerned should express their political will as requested by the UN Secretary General.

''One thing is quite clear about the vote, by popular margin Turkish Cypriots expressed their desire for a comprehensive settlement that would enable them to join Europe by May 1 together with Greek Cypriots,'' Klosson said, adding that ''this is a vote of hope over fear and it is all the more noteworthy given the pressures that Turkish Cypriots faced during the lead up to the December 14 vote.''

The Ambassador reiterated US readiness to assist in helping move the settlement process forward and noted the visit to Athens, Nicosia and Ankara in the course of the week of US State Department Special Coordinator Thomas Weston.

''We will do what we can to help move the settlement process forward based on the Annan plan,'' he said.

Replying to questions about Sunday's poll, he said ''it is a tremendous political signal that Turkish Cypriots are looking to the future with hope instead of fear and they have signaled with the majority of votes cast for parties that support the Annan plan and EU membership and very much want to join Europe in the same timeframe as Greek Cypriots, that sends an important political signal.''

He also said that ''Turkish Cypriots have sent a very strong signal with their desires and that should be respected.''

Asked how the US sees the current state of affairs, he pointed out that ''the way forward has not changed, there remains the SG's good offices mission and the Annan plan which is out there.''

''What we certainly want to see is a resumption of talks based on the Annan plan with the first step being the expression of political will the SG has requested in his report endorsed by the Security Council,'' he added.

According to unofficial results, the political forces opposing the policies of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash got more than 50 per cent of the vote, securing half the ''parliamentary seats''.

Denktash and his supporters reject the Annan plan, claiming it would lead the Turkish Cypriot to become second-class citizens.

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