NEW YORK.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
US Retired General Wesley Clark, aspiring to be nominated as the Democratic candidate for the Presidential elections, has called upon all Turkish Cypriot political leaders to proceed quickly to form a ”government” in Cyprus’ Turkish occupied areas and work toward unification of the island based on the Annan plan.
Clark said in a written statement he was very pleased that the Republic of Cyprus will be welcomed into the EU in May 2004 and expressed hope that the so-called government in occupied Cyprus will see that the interests of all Cypriots are best served by the unification of the island.
”As the election on December 14, 2003 showed more and more Turkish Cypriots want to see a unified Cyprus enter the EU in May, and they are receptive to proceeding to final negotiations along the lines of the proposal from United nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, I call upon all Turkish Cypriot leaders to proceed quickly to form a government and work urgently toward unification based on the Annan plan,” Clark said.
He noted that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots ”risk being left behind and disadvantaged if they do not proceed to create a unified Cyprus.”
”The unification of Cyprus will lead to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots enjoying membership in the EU and greater prosperity of the island. It will also facilitate Turkey’s securing agreement from the EU to begin its own membership talks,” he added. Demetris
The Cyprus issue will be discussed during Turkish Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, US Secretary of State Colin Pawell has said. Answering to questions, Secretary Powell said the US government wants to work with Turkey in order to reach a Cyprus settlement on the basis of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s plan for solution to the problem.
”We want to work with Turkey to see if we can find a solution to the Cyprus problem, using the outline of Kofi Annan’s plan”, Powell said, noting that Washington further wishes to ”work with Turkey and our other European colleagues as we prepare Turkey for hopefully eventual integration in the EU”.
Asked to comment of Erdogan’s visit taking into consideration Turkey’s concerns on some issues like the future of Iraq and the country’s European course, Powell noted that Turkey ”is a good friend and an ally”, adding that the US wants ”to be supportive of its efforts”.