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US sees possibility of initial agreement on Cyprus
2002-05-23 09:44:10

Nicosia, May 23 (CNA) -- The US believe that it is feasible to have an initial agreement on the core issues, under discussion at the UN-led direct talks, by the end of June, Washington's special coordinator on Cyprus at the US State Department, Thomas Weston, is reported to have said.

According to the Athens New Agency, Weston, who plans a visit to Nicosia, Athens and Ankara in early June, also said the US backs fully the UN Secretary General in his attempts to find a negotiated settlement and cooperates closely with him in this respect.|

Kofi Annan defined the core issues as governance, security, territory and properties.

Speaking only a day before he meets Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Washington, Weston said that he has an "excellent" cooperation with Athens and that at their meeting they will assess the direct talks and the prospects, following Annan's visit to Cyprus in mid May, in a bid to intensify the pace of the talks.

There has been no progress towards a comprehensive settlement since the start of the talks in mid January this year. The Turkish Cypriot side continues to insist on two states in Cyprus with separate sovereignty, whereas the Greek Cypriot side believes the island should be reunited under a federal roof with such arrangements that would enable the government to take decisions within Europe and implement European laws and regulations, in expectation of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

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

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