27 May, 2004
WASHINGTON 27/5/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)
The United States considers Mehmet Ali Talat as being the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and is holding consultations with him in this framework, according to a statement by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Wednesday.
"The Turkish Cypriot community appointed Mr. Talat as leader of the Turkish Cypriot delegation in the talks held in Switzerland. He has been playing this role since then and until the referendum and after it. The secretary (of State Colin Powell) met him as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. Our ambassador in Cyprus met him as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. And we consider him the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community," Boucher said.
The spokesman also insisted that Talat led the effort to have the referendum accepted, but added that the position of the US regarding the "prime minister" of the Turkish-occupied territory does not signal some change in the U.S. position on the recognition of the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" or of people who are possibly in the administration apparatus in the northern part of Cyprus.
Boucher also noted that the efforts of the U.S. for a solution to the issue of Cyprus did not begin recently but date back to 1963.
Source: Athens News Agency