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US Ambassador says there is still enough time for settlement
2002-10-22 18:36:19

Nicosia, Oct 22 (CNA) -- US Ambassador in Nicosia, Michael Klosson, has expressed the view that a solution to the Cyprus problem could be reached before the European Council in Copenhagen in December.

Speaking after meeting Social Democrats leader and presidential candidate, Yiannakis Omirou, Klosson said they had a "long discussion on efforts to bring about a settlement on the Cyprus problem".

Omirou expressed satisfaction that the US support the UN Secretary- General's efforts for a Cyprus settlement and the island's accession course to the European Union.|

"I emphasised the US support on the Secretary-General's good offices mission as we think this is the ideal way to achieve a settlement", Klosson said.

The US diplomat expressed the view that the UN-sponsored talks on Cyprus "can produce a solution prior to Copenhagen in December. There is not a lot of time left but there is sufficient time left", he noted.

Klosson said the two also "talked about a very high priority to the US government which is the war on terrorism", Klosson said, and described how the US government has very close cooperation with the Cyprus on this issue. "...we very much appreciate the full contribution that government of Cyprus is making to the international effort to combat terrorism", he added.

Regarding Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's health, Klosson said it seems that there "have been complications but at the same time statements that I have seen most recently are saying that his coming out of Intensive Care and perhaps he is already out of intensive care". The US diplomat hoped Denktash "will be out of the hospital soon" and conveyed his "best wishes for early and good recovery".

Asked if he has any information about a plan for a Cyprus settlement, Klosson said what he had read "in the newspapers usually concerns a UN plan so you should ask them about that".

On his part, Omirou said he was satisfied the US support the UN Secretary- General's efforts for a Cyprus settlement and the island's accession course to the European Union.

Asked whether Denktash's health would create problems in the process to solve the Cyprus problem, Omirou said the two discussed Denktash's health, not from the medical point of view but from the fact that "it affects the UN Secretary-General's initiative".

Omirou described Denktash's health as an "imponderable factor" in the Cyprus settlement process, adding "there is no doubt the worsening of the Turkish Cypriot leader's condition is creating complications".

Denktash underwent open-heart surgery on October 7 to repair a malfunctioned valve and has been in hospital since. He underwent a second what was described as "follow-up exploratory operation" on Monday.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third. The UN-led talks, which began in January this year, have failed to produce any result due to Denktash's intransigence.

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