Powell said US would play an active role in helping to find a
A power-sharing deal on the divided island of Cyprus is close,
said the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr Powell said he would put pressure on both Greek and Turkish
Cypriots to reach a settlement, after meeting the Turkish Foreign
Minister, Abdullah Gul.
Meanwhile, after meeting the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the
Cypriot president said no time could be lost in trying to reach a deal.
Turkey offered a surprise conciliatory peace initiative last week.
"I think it is time for all of us to put pressure on all
sides to get a resolution to this difficult situation," Mr Powell said
after talks with Mr Gul in Washington on Thursday.
"It has gone on for so long and I think we are getting close to a
Mr Powell said he would not seek a role as mediator in
negotiations, as requested by Turkey.
But he said the US was ready to use its "good offices" - its good
relations with both Greece and Turkey - to encourage progress.
Later, after a meeting with Mr Annan, Cypriot President Tassos
Papadopoulos called for talks to resume immediately.
"We lost quite a considerable time trying to wait for developments
in the Turkish-Cypriot side, and the time is really short," he said.
"So we must aim at talks which are result-oriented."
Momentum for a deal has been building since last week, when Turkey
made a surprise offer to let the UN "fill in the blanks" on its
unification plan - which had gathered dust since last year, when both
sides refused to accept the UN-proposed compromises.
The Turkish-controlled northern half Cyprus is unrecognised,
and thus EU law will not extend there until a reunification plan is
But there is little time to reach a deal before the 1 May EU
accession date, if the Annan plan is to be adopted and referendums held
on both sides of the island.
Turkey is keen for a deal before the EU expansion, as this would
increase its own chances of beginning talks on membership next year.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the island's
future on Wednesday with US President George W Bush.
"I state once again that the Turkish side is determined for a
solution," Mr Erdogan told reporters."