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US: Cyprus agreement can be achieved by February 28
2002-12-20 09:48:27

Nicosia, Dec 20 (CNA) -- US believes an agreement for a Cyprus settlement can be achieved between now and February 28, 2003, US Ambassador in Nicosia Michael Klosson said in a written statement issued here today, after his meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

Klosson stressed ''the reasons for both sides to seek a comprehensive settlement remain as valid after Copenhagen as they were before'' and that ''both sides must work with the utmost urgency on the three areas requiring immediate attention identified by the Secretary General in his recent communication to the parties.''

''The US strongly supports United Nations efforts to achieve a solution and welcomes the December 18 statement by the president of the Security Council calling for intensifying the negotiations,'' Klosson said.

He noted ''the UN's revised December 10 settlement proposal remains the way forward and provides the basis for a negotiated agreement. The US believes agreement can be achieved between now and February 28,'' Klosson added.|

''It is thus important that all parties seize the unique opportunity which continues to exist to achieve a durable settlement, one which would enable Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to benefit from Cyprus' accession to the EU,'' the American Ambassador said.

He described his meeting with Clerides ''very good'' and said he congratulated him on the European Council's decision last week regarding the accession of Cyprus ''which is something the United States has long supported.''

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has sent letters to the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus, as well as to the leaders of Greece and Turkey, charting the road ahead and the work to be done in order to reach an agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of February 2003.

The Secretary General also drew attention in his letters to the need for work to be done in January in order to achieve agreement.

Yesterday the UN Security Council expressed full support for the efforts by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to bring about a settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of February 2003, on the basis of his revised proposals presented to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides on December 10.

Cyprus was invited last week by the Copenhagen European Council to join the EU in 2004, along with other 9 countries.

The island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

CNA/MK/ΚΝ/2002
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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