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US and EU think a Cyprus settlement still possible
2002-12-19 09:53:04

by Demetris Apokis-- Washington, Dec 19 (CNA) -- US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said it is still possible to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem and assured that Washington will work hard for this goal.

Speaking after a meeting between the US and the EU, Powell expressed support for the UN Secretary General's efforts to reach a settlement and noted that his country is in close contact with the EU on the issue.

The meeting was also attended by Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and EU Commisioner for Foreign Affairs Chris Paten. Moeller said that now there is a good chance to settle the Cyprus question.|

''I think any one of us would do what is necessary and within our power to do to try to achieve a solution to this problem (Cyprus question) which has existed for so many years. I hope that both sides, all four parties who really have an equity in this will view the proposal of the SG with seriousness and try to find a way to use this historic opportunity to resolve this longstanding problem,'' Powell said.

Moeller expressed hope that the UN will have a deal on Cyprus before February 28 ''so that we can have a united Cyprus which becomes member from the 1st of May 2004 in the EU.'' He expressed the conviction that ''there is a chance'' for a settlement and said that ''the two communities really want to unite.''

The Danish FM recalled that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides had made ''a very, very beautiful declaration (before EU leaders last week) saying that he will work hard to get the island united as soon as possible and before February 28th,''.

Moeller also recalled that the EU has set aside money to help the Turkish Cypriots to arrive at the same level as the Greek Cypriots as soon as possible.

''So I really think there are good possibilities now. This is an historic moment for unification. If you don't use this historic moment to finish before February 28th, then it can take a very long time,'' he stressed and noted ''both communities shall think this now can be done.''

''If not now then when? And when is far away,'' he added.

Cyprus and other nine candidate countries were invited last week by the 15 EU members to join the EU. The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

CNA/DA/MK/MM/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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