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US optimistic that a solution will be reached in the near future
2002-10-22 18:26:18

Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) --- The US strongly supports UN Secretary General's efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus issue and is optimistic that a solution will be reached in the near future, Lynn Pascoe Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs in the US State Department told CNA here today.

Pascoe, currently visiting the island, met today with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias.

''We strongly support UN Secretary General's efforts and we hope to see a united Cyprus'' Pascoe said, adding that his meeting with Christofias was excellent.

Regarding the possibility of the submission of a peace plan by the UN Secretary General, Pascoe said that the US supports the helpful work Kofi Annan is doing, adding that as regards the submission of a plan ''it is for him to decide not for us''.

Answering a question on Turkey's EU course, Pascoe said that the US has been very supportive as regards this issue. |

''Every EU member knows that if we had a vote we would have a very strong vote for Turkey and for moving towards accession negotiations with Turkey'' he said.

He also expressed the view that the Americans and the Greeks are the strongest supporters of Turkey's accession course, adding that ''at least the Greeks have a vote.''

''We would like to see a date set to begin the discussions. The sooner the better. We would like to see the process move forward,'' he added.

Christofias told the US State Department official that Cyprus' sovereignty is not negotiable.

''The people of Cyprus and the government will not accept a solution by which Cyprus' independence and sovereignty will be sacrificed for the sake of Cyprus' accession to the EU'', House President said.

''The refugees rights must be secured and the solution reached must be functional,'' Christofias said.

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