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US official says current period very propitious for Cyprus
2002-03-20 09:23:55

Larnaca, Mar 20 (CNA) -- Face-to-face talks on the Cyprus problem are positive in themselves, according to a US official, who arrived in Cyprus today at this "very propitious time", adding his country would materialise its support to the talks in any way the parties asked for.

Speaking at Larnaca Airport, State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said he was "coming at a time when we are finishing up the second round of these talks and looking towards considering what is going on in the Security Council again, so this is a very propitious time to hear from both of the leaders their views of what is going on".|

Direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash began on January 16, in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

"I am here very much in a listening mode but also in a mode to do whatever we can to support the process, in particular to support the Secretary General and Alvaro de Soto in this process", he said.

Asked how the US would materialise this support, Weston said "basically in any way they ask us to support them".

Weston added that "the talks themselves, the fact that they have taken place for this long with the two leaders, is a positive sign".

"I cannot say that they appear to be moving with the needed urgency, which the Security Council asked for in its last statement, to permit an agreement", he noted, adding that the Security Council believes an agreement "is feasible by June".

CNA/OM/RG/R?/2002 ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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