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Rice pledges US efforts will continue towards Denktash
2002-11-27 12:04:50

by Demetris Apokis Washington, Nov 27 (CNA) - The Cyprus problem and the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement were the main issues discussed during a meeting today between Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou and US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Papandreou said he pointed out the importance of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem remaining active even after the Copenhagen European Council in December since the time left until the summit is limited.

The Greek Minister called for the US administration's contribution to solve the Cyprus problem and to ''exert pressure to maintain the atmosphere created now, even after the Copenhagen European Council, if there is no settlement by then''.|

''We support Turkey's European perspective and realise that something like this, sooner or later, will lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem, therefore we are asking Washington to reinforce the effort to maintain this dynamic'', Papandreou added.

CNA has learned that the US described Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's stance against the Annan plan as ''predictable''. Rice pointed out to Papandreou that the US administration's efforts to curb Denktash's intransigent stance and delaying tactics as regards the Annan plan will intensify towards Ankara.

Papandreou said there is a general discontent both from Europe and the US regarding Denktash's stance, while a special dynamic towards Turkish Cypriots is evolving since they long for accession to the EU and are ready to accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiation.

A similar dynamic is being developed in Turkey too, he said, where more and more voices are heard about the big opportunity to solve not only the Cyprus problem but also give Turkey a better perspective in Europe. ''We want a European Turkey, when it will respect international law and adopt the Copenhagen criteria'', Papandreou added.
The Greek Minister further said both Greece and the US support a date to be given to Turkey to begin accession negotiations provided it fulfils the criteria for candidate countries.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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