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US Ambassador says US committed to supporting UN chief
2002-09-09 11:22:37

Nicosia, Sep 9 (CNA) - New US Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson reiterated today his country's strong commitment to support UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and durable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Klosson made his introductory call today on Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou, with whom he discussed the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' EU accession course.|

"We had an excellent discussion on Cyprus and I reiterated the very strong commitment of the US government to support the UN Secretary General and his efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and durable settlement of the Cyprus problem", Klosson told reporters.

Vassiliou thanked the US Ambassador for his country's continuous support to Cyprus' efforts to join the EU and reunite the island.

He described today's meeting useful and said that the US government, through its Ambassador to Cyprus as well as US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston, have made it clear to Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that the US strongly support Cyprus' accession to the EU.

Invited to comment on the meeting in Paris between Annan, President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash, Vassiliou described it as very positive and said that it brought more results than initially estimated.

"Some people have been pessimistic regarding the meeting in Paris, but the fact that the UN Secretary General has arranged a new meeting beginning of October in New York, is very important", he added.

Vassiliou said the prospect of a new meeting in New York would mean that Turkey and Denktash would realise that they cannot continue their stance on the Cyprus issue.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

The island opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and is considered to be the frontrunner among the candidate countries.

President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid January this year with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Last Friday, Annan met with Clerides and Denktash in Paris and asked them to return to Cyprus and work on the issues that he highlighted to them and meet him once again in New York on October 3 and 4.

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