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US congresspersons welcome Annan's visit to Cyprus
2002-05-16 09:44:11

By Demetris Apokis - Washington, May 16 (CNA) -- Members of the US Congress Mike Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney, co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, expressed hope the UN Secretary General's visit to Cyprus would contribute to the decisive progress in the UN-led peace talks, aimed at solving the protracted Cyprus problem.

In a joint statement, Bilirakis and Maloney noted that there is now an historic opportunity of achieving the objective of a political settlement "in time for the accession of a reunited Cyprus to the European Union, so that both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can benefit from this remarkable development."|

Welcoming Annan's decision to travel to Cyprus the two members of the US Congress said the Cyprus problem had gone on too long and that it was time to see decisive steps towards a settlement.

"This decision of the Secretary General is a clear reflection of the importance the United Nations and the international community place on resolving the Cyprus issue and the need for more urgency in the negotiation to reach an agreement," they noted.

They expressed the conviction that Annan's visit to the island was "a timely contribution to the process launched by the two leaders in Cyprus, who have been engaged in direct talks since January 16 of this year, with a view toward finding a comprehensive settlement consistent with the relevant UN resolutions and treaties."

Yesterday, Annan who arrived in Cyprus Tuesday, met separately with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

Last night the three met at the residence of the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNFICYP chief of mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz, in the UN-controlled buffer zone, where Annan invited the two leaders for a working dinner.

The UN chief leaves the island today.

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