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Weston says situation in occupied areas determining
2003-01-17 10:32:50

Nicosia, Jan 17 (CNA) - US State Department Coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Weston, said here Friday the situation in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus could have a determining effect on whether or not the process for a Cyprus settlement will be successful within the timeframe which the UN Secretary General has set.

Weston was speaking after a meeting with House of Representatives President, Demetris Christofias, who said efforts to solve the Cyprus problem would continue before and after the presidential elections with the negotiator being whoever is elected President of the Republic.|

The US envoy said he had a ''good exchange'' of views with Christofias and talked not only about the Cyprus issue but ''we were able to share an analysis of several other topics, the situation in Turkey and the situation in the north, which obviously can have a determining effect on whether or not this process will be successful, particularly successful in the time line that we envisage which is an agreement by the end of February''.

He also said he believes ''there are some dynamics applied here which make it more likely than has been the case in the past, that we will be able to achieve our goal'' of a Cyprus settlement.

Christofias said they had a ''sincere exchange of views on the current developments on the Cyprus problem'', adding that Greek Cypriots ''wish to find a solution the soonest''. He said this was especially the case with the ''Turkish Cypriots who look forward to a united Cyprus entering the EU''. Christofias noted ''this is our desire too''.

The House President said he told Weston that the opposition in Cyprus has shown such good will and a desire to solve the Cyprus problem, to the point which it did not prevent the President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides, who is running for re-election in mid-February, to continue negotiations with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash based on the Annan plan, with the aim to seek the necessary changes which ''we believe are required for a solution to be functional''.

He pledged efforts would continue for a solution that will be ''viable and functional and as fair as possible, under the circumstances, for a compromise between Cypriots and not between foreigners, meaning motherland countries''.

Around 60 thousand Turkish Cypriots demonstrated earlier this week in favour of a solution to the Cyprus problem, accession to the European Union and Denktash's resignation.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. President Clerides and Denktash are currently engaged in UN-led direct talks on the basis of a proposal submitted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reach a comprehensive settlement. CNA/EC/RG/2003


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