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US supportive of a Cyprus settlement
2002-10-23 10:08:44

Nicosia, Oct 23 (CNA) -- Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs in the US State Department, Lynn Pascoe said here today the US is very supportive of a settlement of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and is working very hard to that end.

Pascoe was speaking to the press after meeting Cyprus Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou who said the Americans have a clear picture of the benefits that will come out of Cyprus' accession to the EU for the people of the island as a whole and in particular for the Turkish Cypriots.

Vassiliou described their discussion ''very interesting and useful'' noting that ''as always we have both the understanding and the support of the US in our efforts,'' for EU membership.|

Vassiliou said Pascoe expressed satisfaction for Cyprus' successful EU accession course and agreed with him that EU membership ''could serve as a catalyst to efforts to promote the reunification of the island.''

Replying to questions, Vassiliou said "if there is no settlement before the December EU summit, then a solution will have to be found after the summit.''

Pascoe said he congratulated Vassiliou on the efforts he and the people of Cyprus have made for the successful completion of Cyprus accession course.

He also noted that ''the European Commission gave very high praise to Cyprus for all its efforts.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.

The European Commission decided earlier this month that Cyprus, along with nine other candidates for EU membership, can finalise accession negotiations by the end of the year.

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