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Weston: widespread urgency for a settlement on Cyprus
2002-10-30 10:19:19

Larnaca, Oct 30 (CNA) ? US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston said he comes away from his last visit to the island with a widespread urgency for a settlement on the island now.

In a brief statement to reporters at the end of his five-day visit to the island, Weston said he is somewhat more optimistic about prospects for a Cyprus settlement and that he was leaving for Berlin and then New York "with a somewhat more optimistic feeling because of the sheer sense of urgency".

"This has been a very productive visit for me to Cyprus and one more visit than usual because of the urgency we feel in addressing the whole Cyprus question", he said.

The US diplomat explained that by "urgency" he means "the relatively short time we have to accomplish our goal of achieving a just and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue before the decision is made on the accession of Cyprus to the EU in December".|

Weston said during this visit he has spent "a lot more time" than he normally does with leaders from both communities as opposed to the interlocutors to the negotiations themselves.

"I come away, once again, with a sense that there is a widespread desire for a settlement but more importantly also a widespread assessment about the urgency of doing this now", the American diplomat stressed.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. It is expected to finalise accession negotiations with the EU by December, following a decision of the European Commission.

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