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US envoy: hopeful period for Cyprus settlement
2003-01-16 09:26:50

by Costas Iordanides -- Athens, Jan 16 (CNA) -- The US and Greece agree on how to move forward to achieve their common goal of a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, US State Department special coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Weston has said, adding this is ''exceptionally helpful''.

Speaking after a meeting here today with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Weston welcomed the mass demonstrations the Turkish Cypriots are staging in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, demanding a solution here and now, on the basis of a UN peace plan.|

''I leave this discussion convinced, as I have been of the great coincidence of views between Greece and the US on how to more forward on this issue (Cyprus question),'' Weston said after the hour-long meeting.

He welcomed this coincidence and said he found it ''exceptionally helpful on dealing with other participants on this issue.''

The US diplomat, who arrives in Cyprus later today, said he had ''very good and intense discussions on the Cyprus issue at a time which is very dynamic and I think very hopeful in terms of doing what both Greece and the US very much want to do, which is to get a settlement to this issue.''

Weston described as ''unprecedented'' the mass protest rallies in the Turkish- occupied northern part of capital Nicosia and noted that the unified theme that was projected in a ''completely peaceful fashion'' is that the Turkish Cypriots want a settlement, based on the UN proposal, they want the settlement now and they want to join the European Union on schedule following the settlement.

''There can be no doubt that this is an expression of the will of the Turkish Cypriots. We obviously support democratic expressions of the will of the people and we obviously support what they are saying,'' Weston added.

Earlier this week well over 35,000 Turkish Cypriots gathered in the main square in occupied Nicosia protesting against the policies of their leader Rauf Denktash and demanding his resignation as their representative to the talks, which resumed Wednesday.

CNA KI/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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