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US welcomes Annan's invitation to talks on Cyprus
2004-02-09 17:47:23

by Demetris Apokis

Washington, Feb 5 (CNA) -- The US has welcomed the invitation by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the parties in Cyprus to go to New York February 10 for a meeting which marks the resumption of peace talks on Cyprus, with a view at finding a negotiated settlement before the country accedes to the European Union on May 1 this year.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said State Department's special coordinator for Cyprus Ambassador Thomas Weston will be in New York on Tuesday for the talks.

''The Secretary General has invited the parties to come to New York February 10th to resume negotiations on the basis of his plan. We welcome that step,'' he said at his daily briefing.

Boucher reiterated US strong support for the good offices mission of the Secretary General and urged the parties to do likewise so as to assure that a settlement can be reached and a united Cyprus can enter the EU on May first.

Replying to questions, he said the US will do whatever it can to support the talks.

The spokesman referred to the UN press questions relating to the presence of Alvaro de Soto, who conducted direct negotiations in Cyprus over the recent past, at Tuesday's talks.

Replying to other questions, Boucher said that putting the Annan plan to a referendum at a point in this process at a fairly early date is part of the Secretary General's proposals in his requirements.

''That is part of the package the Secretary General's putting forward that we have encouraged the parties to use to resolve this,'' he added.

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