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Boucher: US opposes militarization of Cyprus
2005-04-04 13:32:34

Washington, Apr 2 (CNA)-- US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher stated that the US opposes militarization of the Cyprus and has supported UN efforts for a solution based on the Annan plan.

Boucher was asked to comment on statements made by US Ambassador in Nicosia Michael Klosson on March 29th at the Fulbright Center in Nicosia that ''the substantially increased presence of foreign military forces on the island are not an acceptable long-term solution'' and ''the United States has long opposed the militarization of the island''.

Boucher reminded the “Annan plan called for immediate reduction of Turkish troops, called for a reduction of Turkish troops to 6,000 by January 2011, a further reduction to 3,000 by January of 2018 or when Turkey joins the European Union, whichever comes sooner”.

After that, he said, Greek and Turkish forces would have been allowed to remain at the Treaty of Alliance and Guarantee levels. ''That's 950 Greek, 650 Turkish troops. Simultaneously, beginning in 2010, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey would regularly review troop levels, with the objective of withdrawing all Greek and Turkish troops from the island'', he added.

''So what the ambassador was expressing is longstanding U.S. policy and is very consistent with the provisions of the Annan plan, which we supported'', he concluded.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern.

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