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US: Turkish Cypriot vote advances peace in Cyprus
2003-12-16 10:08:46

by Demetris Apokis

Washington, Dec 16 (CNA) -- The US has welcomed the outcome of Sunday's poll in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, saying it advances the cause of peace.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also said that the Turkish Cypriots have expressed their wish for a political settlement that will allow them to join the European Union with Greek Cypriots.

Boucher was commenting on Sunday's poll in northern occupied Cyprus that gave over 50 per cent of the vote to those forces that advocate a solution and accession to the EU.

''In their vote on Sunday, Turkish Cypriots expressed their desire for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement that will enable them to join the EU next May 1st, alongside the Greek Cypriots. A pro-solution party won the greatest number of votes, and more than half of all voters supported candidates who favor having a settlement approved by the Cypriots in referenda before May,'' Boucher said.

He expressed hope that ''a new administration will be in place as soon as possible that will carry out the will of the majority of Turkish Cypriots. This vote advances the cause of peace in Cyprus. It's a vote for hope over fear, and it's all the more noteworthy, given the pressures that are faced by Turkish Cypriot voters during the pre-election period.''

''The United States will continue to promote a just and durable solution to the long-standing division of the island on the basis of UN Secretary-General Annan's peace plan. We hope the Turkish Cypriot desire for a settlement will be honored by the swift resumption of UN-brokered negotiations, beginning with the necessary expression of political will to Secretary-General Annan by all the parties,'' the spokesman added.

Referring to a visit to Ankara, Athens and Nicosia by US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston, he said ''the purpose of his trip is to press the United States view of the way ahead, particularly in light of yesterday's election results. And he will offer our assistance in moving toward renewed talks on the basis of the Annan plan.''

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