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US:New options and alternatives must be found for Cyprus
2002-09-03 13:01:25

By Costas Iordanides-- Athens, Sep 3 (CNA) -- The United States believes that if the ongoing UN-led Cyprus peace talks do not bear fruit by mid-December, other options and alternatives must be examined, US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said today.

Weston, who met here with the Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis, said that these options and alternatives should be determined by the UN Secretary General.

He noted that a solution to the Cyprus problem is urgent and stressed that the US believes that the opportunity offered now for Cyprus never existed in the past and this is partly due to Cyprus' forthcoming accession to the EU.

"They have to show the necessary political will to achieve the solution. This is a question of political will," he added.|

He recalled that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have met for more than 50 times within the context of the UN- led talks, since January this year. Weston described as an "achievement" for Cyprus the mere fact that these meetings have actually taken place.

Yiannitis expressed the belief that nobody questions Cyprus accession to the EU and noted that even if the island's political problem is not solved "the road does not close, efforts can carry on later."

"I don't think there is any argument or any legal impedement that could block Cyprus accession to the EU," he added.

Weston arrives here later today and tomorrow he will have a working lunch with President Clerides, who leaves for Paris Wednesday for a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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