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Thomas Miller: US totally supports Anan's peace plan
2002-11-24 20:37:05

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- New York, Nov 23 (CNA) --- US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller expressed his country's full support to the UN peace plan for Cyprus, stressing that there is now a better opportunity for a solution.

''We support this plan, there is now a real effort to push it and there is a coincidence with this December 12th date (European Council in Copenhagen)'' Miller said, adding that ''this doesn't mean we don't support Cyprus' accession, it does mean we have a better opportunity if we push that time window now''.

US Ambassador was addressing, as the man of honour, the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) in Manhattan in the framework of the Cultural Olympic Week and the regional US Congress.

Miller stressed that the US peace plan can serve as a basis for negotiation and for an agreement and it ''protects legally the vital interests of all people in Cyprus''.

He added that although the plan is not perfect it is still a reasonable one and referring to the US efforts for a solution of the Cyprus issue, he said that ''some time the door was closed and we had to look for window. It's never been easy. Now we have got a real opportunity''.

He recalled the ''deal'' pushed forward by former US Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke in 1995 with the EU, ''regarding the Turkey's EU Customs Union in return for Cyprus' course to the EU.''

''This agreement did not gain a lot of attention back then, but it changed the equation'' Miller said, adding that this deal ''added the new ingredient to inject into the Cyprus equation, to help create a push to solve the problem''.

US Ambassador said that at that time Cyprus' EU accession seemed like a distant prospect, adding that ''December 12 is nearly three weeks from now. It is not a distant prospect and it is a very good move''.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

It is expected to be invited by the Copenhagen EU Summit, along with other nine candidate countries, to join the EU.

CNA/AZ/AAR/KN/2002

ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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