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EXTRACT FROM PRESS BRIEFING OF STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN
2003-01-15 10:33:15

BELOW IS EXTRACT FROM THE PRESS BRIEFING OF THE SPOKESMAN OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, AMBASSADOR RICHARD BOUCHER, ON JANUARY 14, 2003

Q. You know, a large -- tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrating in favor of the EU plan -- I mean, the U.N. plan and against Mr. Denktash. What do you -- do you have any reaction to that? Are you happy to see there's a -- at least it looks like there's a popular move afoot on the Turkish Cypriot side?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't want to get involved in anybody's politics. But I think I do want to get involved in the cause of peace. And we have made clear our support for the secretary-general, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, for his special Cyprus adviser Alvaro de Soto, and for the U.N. 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. There were 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.

The U.N.'s revised settlement plan, currently on the table, provides a basis for such a settlement, and we believe that 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.

Q. So you almost seem to be saying that the demonstrations are a good thing. Is that --

MR. BOUCHER: That -- peace is a good thing, and people demonstrating for -- in support of this opportunity to achieve peace -- they're supporting the right thing.

Q Should this not be seen by supporters of Mr. Denktash as a kind of slap in the face, since attendant along with their sentiment, the protesters' sentiment, is the idea of "dump Denktash"?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it'll come as any surprise to Mr. Denktash -- the United States supports peace and that we support a settlement. It's what we're saying here.

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