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Powell: no tension, no statements to create bad climate
2002-09-16 16:03:15

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- United Nations, Sep 16 (CNA) -- US Secretary of State Colin Powell believes that any statements or tension that could create a bad climate with regard to the ongoing Cyprus peace effort and the European Union enlargement process must be avoided.

Powell and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou met here today for about 20 minutes and discussed the Cyprus issue, the situation in Iraq and the Middle East, the fight against terrorism, Greco-Turkish relations and the Greek EU presidency in the first six months of next year.|

"Powell wishes to support UN Secretary General in his effort to solve the long standing Cyprus question, which creates friction between Greece and Turkey," Papandreou said after the meeting.

According to a senior source in the Greek foreign ministry, Papandreou explained to Powell that a proposal put forward by the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash at the peace talks does not contain any elements that could facilitate a solution.

The source said Papandreou told Powell that a political settlement in Cyprus would have favourable repercussions on the island and help Turkey and its European aspirations.

Papandreou also told Powell about Turkey's threats against Cyprus, should the country join the EU prior to a solution and the Secretary of State advocated calmness and low tones in the coming months and said threats and circumstances that could create instability in the region should be avoided.

Turkey has warned the EU it would annex the areas of Cyprus it occupies since 1974 if the country joins the Union without a political settlement. Ankara also warned of a crisis and problems in the region if Cyprus joins without a solution. The EU had decided that a solution would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for it.

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