U.S. welcomes Cyprus elections

April 17, 2005 at 5:31 PM

WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- The United States congratulated a Turkish Cypriot leader Sunday on winning the presidential election in the Turkish enclave of Cyprus.

The island has been divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities since 1974.

Residents of the Turkish enclave voted Sunday to elect a new president, Mehmet Ali Talat.

In a statement issued in Washington, the U.S. State Department observed that these were "free, fair and democratic elections" and welcomed Talat's pledge to work for the reunification of the island.

While promising to work with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to end this conflict, the State Department said the United States will continue to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to promote a solution to the long-standing division of the island. But it added that the Secretary General's settlement plan should be implemented "in a manner acceptable to majorities on both sides of the island."

Washington promised also to help "ease the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and to reduce economic disparities between the two communities through economic development" in the Turkish enclave.

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