11 February, 2004
WASHINGTON 11/02/2004 D.C. (ANA-T. Ellis)
The United States will do everything possible to contribute to a successful outcome of UN secretary general Kofi Annan's efforts on the Cyprus problem, US state department spokesman Richard Boucher told a regular press briefing on Monday (US time), and noted President George Bush's recent statement concerning a personal involvement in the matter by secretary of state Colin Powell.
Replying to questions, Boucher pointed out that State Department special coordinator for the Cyprus issue, Tom Weston, was in New York with his team for the Annan-brokered talks between Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash due to resume later Tuesday, although, he clarified, Weston would not be taking part in the talks themselves but was attending as an "observer".
Weston will be "attending the meetings as an observer. He won't be a participant and he'll be meeting with the parties in New York. But that's where you need to start: with the basics. The parties are coming to New York. They've accepted the Secretary General's invitation, we understand. Meetings will begin Tuesday under the auspices of the Secretary General," Boucher said.
"First, they'll be talking about procedures and the next steps in the process. We hope that leads to agreement to following the basis of the Secretary General's plans to move forward. We're glad the parties are attending. We urge them to negotiate seriously," he added.
Boucher further noted that Powell had spoken with Turkish foreign minister by phone on Friday "about the upcoming talks", and had also "talked to his other interlocutors, the Secretary General on Friday and again in a phone call yesterday (Sunday), about Cyprus and about how we can all support the Secretary General's efforts".
"It's been, obviously, a subject of discussion also with the French Foreign Minister on Friday and the Netherlands Foreign Minister today (Monday), because we recognize the important role the Europeans and the European Union have to play. And as the President, I think, promised, that we would be doing what we can, everything we can, to support the efforts with our diplomacy and with Secretary Powell's personal involvement in trying to support the effort the Secretary General is making right now," Boucher added.
Source: Athens News Agency