US to work hard for positive Cyprus referenda
by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
New York, Apr 4 (CNA) - The United States will be working hard over the period leading up to the April 24 referenda in Cyprus on a solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in order to encourage all Cypriots to understand this agreement, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.
Briefing the press en route to Washington, Powell said if the Annan plan is not accepted in the referenda, it ''will shut things down for a long time,'' adding that there is no plan B and ''whatever reservations either side might have about it, it is unlikely a better arrangement is going to be forthcoming.''
Powell said that during his meetings with European officials he ''pointed out that we have an historic opportunity now with this arrangement that Secretary General Kofi Annan has been able to make.''
He added that ''we have to work hard between now and the time of the referendum later in April to see if we cannot get the Cypriots, both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, to realise this is an opportunity that won't come again.''
''There is no plan B. This is it. And whatever reservations either side might have about it, it is unlikely a better arrangement is going to be forthcoming,'' Powell said, adding that ''in fact, this will shut things down for a long time if this is not accepted.''
Powell noted that for this reason ''we will all be working hard, and I will be working hard, over the next several weeks to encourage all Cypriots to understand this agreement, for leaders in the region to help explain this agreement to their people.''
''I hope we can get a satisfactory referendum process underway and completed by the 24th of April,'' he concluded.