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US following Cyprus talks with June timetable in mind
2002-04-26 09:37:53

Nicosia, Apr 26 (CNA) -- The US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston has said that the United States are following the ongoing UN- sponsored talks on Cyprus having in mind the timetable of June 2002, set out as an objective to reach an agreement on the protracted Cyprus problem.

Weston, who discussed here today developments in the peace process with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, over a working breakfast, said that his country would continue to assist efforts to reach an agreement "basically by providing diplomatic support in whatever way the leaders and the (UN) Secretary General believe is useful for us to provide support."

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the press after the working breakfast that the US official, who came here after visiting Ankara and Athens, had not presented anything new before the Cyprus government or any concrete proposal.|

Weston, who was due to meet today in Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, noted that "we are looking to the talks (between Clerides and Denktash) very much with our mind to the timetable that the Security Council continues to believe that is very important to adhere to and that is to do everything we can do to foster an agreement by June."

Invited to say whether June is a realistic target, Weston noted that "both leaders involved in the talks have continued to say that it is possible to get an agreement by June."

Asked whether it is time for papers to be put forward at the negotiating table, the US official suggested the press ask those who are engaged in the talks and not him.

Weston will travel from Cyprus to New York, where on May 3 the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will brief the Security Council on the talks.

The Government Spokesman said that "June is an important date not in the sense of a deadline but because during this time Cyprus' EU accession negotiations will be nearing their conclusion". He also noted that it should be clear by June whether these negotiations have any prospect of success. "In this sense, June is a milestone and not a deadline," he added.

He also said that if the current process reaches a deadlock "we have to prepare the conditions for a fresh effort in the future."

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in face- to-face talks since mid-January, with a view to negotiate until a settlement is found.

CNA/MK/RG/2002

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