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Klosson: Key opportunity to achieve brighter future for Cypriots
2002-08-30 09:09:03

Nicosia, Aug 30 (CNA) New US Ambassador in Nicosia, Michael Klosson, stressed that the current time provides a very key opportunity to achieve a brighter future for Cypriots and said his country is committed to support the UN Secretary-General's efforts and the UN-led direct talks between the two leaders.

Klosson was speaking after meeting House President Demetris Christofias who conveyed to the new ambassador his desire for an honourable compromise between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.|

Welcoming Klosson, Christofias said he hoped he is the last US Ambassador to serve in a divided Cyprus and expressed the desire for a constructive and productive cooperation during his term in office.

"I have analysed historically, the Cyprus problem and the rapprochement aspects, and my firm views for an honourable compromise with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, based on the UN resolutions, the High Level Agreements and stressed that the Cyprus state's sovereignty cannot be divided within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation", Christofias said.

He also called for a wider autonomy for both entities, which will encompass the federation, "safeguarding the unity of the state as well as the human rights of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots."

Klosson said the meeting was "very positive and very constructive" and that they also discussed Christofias' recent visit to Washington.

"I commented how cooperation between the US and Cyprus particularly in the area of counter-terrorism has expanded significantly, and including cooperation with the US and the House of Representatives themselves", Klosson added.

He praised Christofias for sending a message quickly to President George Bush last September 11 during the tragic events in New York city. Christofias was Acting President at the time since President Glafcos Clerides was traveling to the US on the day to attend the UN General Assembly.

"I emphasized that this is a very key opportunity to achieve a brighter future for Cypriots from one end of the island to another and I told President Christofias that the US was committed to doing what it could to support the UN Secretary-General's efforts and those efforts are facilitating direct talks between the two leaders and so we are very committed to work in that direction", he said.

The US Ambassador reiterated "the US thinks that the place for a settlement can be best done around the notion of a federation, bizonal, bicommunal".

Cyprus has be divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third. Ongoing UN-ed direct talks aiming at a comprehensive settlement have yielded no results yet due to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's insistence for two separate "sovereign states", contrary to UN resolutions calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Cyprus is expected to be invited by the Copenhagen European Council in December, along with other candidate countries, to join the EU.

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