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US focus on a settlement of Cyprus issue prior to EU accession
2002-05-25 11:33:03

Washington, May 25 (CNA) ? The US are focusing on achieving a settlement of the Cyprus problem prior to the EU's decision on the island's accession, US State Department's Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker told his daily briefing, adding that his country is supporting the accession of a unified Cyprus to the EU.

Reeker also expressed conviction that Cyprus' accession process to the EU "can be an incentive to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue."

"We very much support the UN Secretary General's efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement and the conclusions of the 1999 European Council of Helsinki toward that end," Reeker stated.|

He reiterated the US government's support regarding the UN Secretary General's recent visit to Cyprus and said the US "certainly stand ready to continue assisting the Secretary General Kofi Annan and his Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto in this very vital effort to reach a comprehensive settlement on the Cyprus issue".

Asked whether the US object to the accession of Cyprus prior to a solution of the Cyprus issue, Reeker considered the question to be "hypothetical" and said that his country focuses "on supporting the UN in whatever way it can to find a solution before that actually becomes a question".

"We think the accession process can be an incentive to finding this comprehensive settlement. And so we support the accession of Cyprus to the European Union" he added.

Asked whether the US support the accession of a unified Cyprus to the EU he answered "yes".

Invited to comment on Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou's statement that Cyprus would join the EU irrespective of whether a solution is found or not, prior to its accession, Reeker said "he (Papandreou) can speak for himself".

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