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US official arrives to explore ideas on the way forward
2005-05-05 10:26:04

Larnaca, May 5 (CN?) - US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Laura Kennedy said that her goal here over the next few days is to meet with a broad cross-section of leaders in both communities and to explore ideas on the way forward.

In a statement to the press after her arrival at Larnaca airport, Kennedy said the UN Secretary General has made clear what he needs in order to determine that conditions warrant a return to the negotiating table, adding that she intends to discuss this issue and encourage the kinds of actions necessary to restart UN-led efforts on a Cyprus settlement.

She said that ''ultimately, of course, it is not the US, the UN, or the EU that will solve the Cyprus problem. That is -as it has always been - up to Cypriots. We are prepared to facilitate agreement and support implementation of a solution, but the initiative will have to come from Cypriots rather than outsiders,'' she stressed.

''The US remains committed to contributing to a comprehensive settlement accepted by majorities on both sides. My goal here over the next few days is to meet with a broad cross-section of leaders in both communities and to explore ideas on the way forward,'' she added.

She reiterated that the United States ''supports a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution based on the Annan Plan (a UN-proposed solution)'', noting that one of the consistent points shared by the parties has been the importance of holding settlement talks under UN auspices.

''This is a principle that the United States holds as well. Our policy has been clear and consistent. We support the Secretary General's Mission of Good Offices and his efforts to facilitate agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus dispute,'' she noted.

She said "the mission of Good Offices has been suspended until the Secretary General determines that conditions warrant a return to the negotiating table. He has made clear what he needs in order to make that determination. I intend to discuss this issue and encourage the kinds of actions necessary to restart UN-led efforts on a Cyprus settlement.''

Kennedy said he looked forward to her discussions and to a fruitful and productive exchange of views.

The UN and the US have maintain that the Greek Cypriot side must submit to the UN the changes it wants to introduce to the Annan plan, before any negotiations resume.

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has told Reuters in an interview that he knows nobody who enters negotiations and "gives his bottom line up front."

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