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Bush supports Annan's mission to Cyprus
2002-05-15 09:15:33

By Demetris Apokis Washington, May 15 (CNA) -- US President George Bush has sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan by which he expresses his overwhelming personal support to the UN process and to Annan's direct involvement in efforts for a settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

The letter was sent to Annan Monday, prior to his departure for Cyprus. Bush expressed strong support to Annan's visit to the island and underlined the importance for a solution in Cyprus the soonest possible, noting that June is "an important date" for the efforts under way.

| Annan arrived in Cyprus yesterday to meet today with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in their capacities as Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, respectively.

His Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro De Soto, who has been conducting direct talks with the two leaders since mid-January this year, is expected to accompany him.

This evening, Annan will have a joint meeting with the two leaders at the residence of the UNFICYP Chief of Mission and Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General Zbigniew Wlosowicz, in the UN- controlled buffer zone, in the Nicosia airport area.
Annan will then host a dinner for the two leaders at Wlosowicz's residence.

Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid- January this year with a view to negotiating in good faith until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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