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Boucher: T/C show they understand significant benefits of a settlement
2003-01-15 10:20:24

Nicosia, Jan 15 (CNA) -- Demonstrations in Cyprus (Turkish-occupied areas) by the Turkish Cypriots show that they understand the significant benefits of achieving a comprehensive settlement and "we couldn't agree more with that", US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday in Washington.

Boucher told his daily briefing that ''the UN revised settlement plan currently on the table provides a basis for such a settlement, and we believe a settlement in Cyprus can and should be achieved by February 28th.''|

''Both sides need to work with urgency on the areas requiring immediate attention that were identified by the Secretary General in his recent communications with the parties,'' he said.

He noted the US has made clear its support for the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, his special advisor on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto, and for the UN Good Offices Mission on Cyprus ''to reach a just and durable settlement in a way that addresses the legitimate interests of both sides and of Greece and Turkey.''

Approximately 40 thousand people rallied yesterday in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia, demanding the resignation of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, a solution to the Cyprus problem and accession of a united Cyprus to the European Union.

Answering a question on the demonstration, Boucher said ''there are very large demonstrations in Cyprus today that show that Turkish Cypriots understand the significant benefits of achieving that kind of comprehensive settlement and achieving it now. Obviously we couldn't agree more.''

Invited to say whether such demonstrations are a good thing, he noted ''peace is a good thing, and people demonstrating in support of this opportunity to achieve peace, they are supporting the right thing.''

Answering another question US State Department spokesman expressed the view it will not come as any surprise to Denktash that the United States supports peace and a settlement in Cyprus.

Cyprus is among the ten countries, which will accede the EU in May 2004.

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

CNA/MK/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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