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Washington sends messages to Ankara over Cyprus
2002-09-05 09:22:42

By Maria Myles-- Paris, Sep 5 (CNA) -- The US has communicated to Turkey crystal clear messages with regard to Cyprus as to what Ankara needs to do and stressed that the problem of this divided island has to be settled.

According to reliable sources, US diplomats dealing with the Cyprus question have expressed concern to their interlocutors about the situation in Turkey, saying they consider the timing of this latest crisis that has hit the country "problematic", bearing in mind that the timeframe the European Union has set out with regard to enlargement affects both Cyprus and Turkey.

During his recent visit to Ankara, US Under-secretary of State for political affairs Mark Grossman told the Turkish establishment "all the right things" with regard to Cyprus, the same sources told CNA.

Grossman made it clear to his interlocutors, including Turkey's Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel, that there is now a unique window of opportunity which should be seized in order to solve the question of Cyprus, they added.

US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus, Ambassador Thomas Weston, is also said to have conveyed the same message to Ankara during his recent contacts there.|

Gurel's response, however, leaves little room for optimism since he maintained the long standing positions about the need to create two separate states on the island and is said to have expressed disagreement with the US positions, as these were outlined by US administration officials.

Washington, the sources believe, considers the current situation in Turkey "fluid" but continues to nurture hopes that Ankara will change its outlook on Cyprus and contribute towards a settlement in the not too distant future.

The UN-led direct talks should continue, American diplomats point out, with a view at finding a comprehensive settlement, noting at the same time that Washington cannot impose a solution. Washington also tells the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides, as well as other interested parties, that whatever framework agreement is reached by the two sides, the US would put its seal of approval to it.

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