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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-11-20
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Wednesday, 20 November 2002
 UN Chief "very concerned" about delay in T/C side's response to planThe United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, voiced serious concern yesterday about the overdue response by the Turkish Cypriot leadership to his proposal for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, submitted on 11 November.
Mr. Annan had asked the two sides to convey their first reaction to the UN plan to his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, within a week, that is by Monday, 18 November.
After the Turkish Cypriot leadership failed to meet the aforementioned deadline, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General issued a press release which read, inter alia, as follows:
"Yesterday, 18 November, the Secretary-General received a letter from Mr. Clerides expressing his readiness to begin negotiations without delay on the basis of the document that is before the two leaders. He has not yet received such an indication from the Turkish Cypriot side.
We understand that Mr. Denktash remains hospitalised in New York and that he requires consultations before he can provide the United Nations with the reaction that was requested.
The Secretary-General is very concerned. A way to get negotiations under way needs to be found urgently, because further delay could result in the disappearance of the opportunity that is at hand. The plan the Secretary- General has submitted has a calendar designed to allow the parties to seize this opportunity, and that requires the main issues to be resolved prior to the Copenhagen European Council. The calendar is part and parcel of the plan.
The Secretary-General has asked Mr. de Soto, his Special Adviser, to meet him in Europe at the end of the week so as to take stock and examine what the United Nations can do to bring the process forward."
Furthermore, upon his encounter with the press earlier yesterday at Pristina, Kosovo and before departing for Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the Secretary-General was asked whether he was still optimistic that an agreement in Cyprus was possible by 12 December, in view of the strong doubts expressed by the two sides. He replied that he remained hopeful that an agreement could be reached.
He added that he was still waiting for Mr. Denktash's response to the plan, 24 hours after the deadline, and added that "the important thing is that the proposal is solid and it could help the parties".
 "The clock is ticking" for negotiations on UN plan to begin, says de SotoThe President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, received at the Presidential Palace the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser Mr. Alvaro de Soto, on Monday, 18 November, to whom he handed a letter addressed to Mr. Kofi Annan, expressing readiness to begin negotiations on the UN solution plan without delay.
Replying to a press question after his encounter with the President, Mr. de Soto noted: "We are well aware that time is pressing and the clock is ticking and the Secretary-General knew this very well when he submitted these proposals to the two sides, but we hope that we will soon receive from the Turkish Cypriot side an expression of their willingness to start negotiations and we very much hope that they will come to such negotiations with a firm commitment to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement on the questions that need to be settled in advance of Copenhagen. We think it can be done. The Secretary-General would not have proposed this if he were not convinced of this. If there is a sense of urgency, if there is a firm commitment and political will, they can do it."
Asked whether the Secretary-General would wait for the Turkish Cypriot side to give its reply to the proposal before starting the negotiations, Mr. de Soto pointed out that both sides were needed at the negotiating table and noted that Mr. Annan's aim in proposing his plan was to encourage the two sides to engage in talks.
"That means that obviously every last word is not untouchable", Mr. de Soto stressed, adding that "it is they who have to reach an agreement; it is not a take-it-or-leave-it proposal as has been suggested".
Invited to say whether he thought a first agreement would be possible by 12 December and how important that particular deadline was, the UN official said the following: "If you read the proposal carefully, and I am sure you are doing that, you will realise that the calendar is an essential, integral and inseparable part of the proposal - so if the proposal is accepted as a basis for negotiation you really have to have a firm commitment on both sides to try to reach a settlement before that date".
Mr. de Soto added that certain existing conditions were particularly favourable for a settlement in Cyprus and that it was not sure whether those conditions would continue to prevail after the Copenhagen EU Summit. Taking that into consideration, he said, the structure of Mr. Annan's proposals "is based on the premise that certain things, in fact the key things, will have to be agreed in advance of Copenhagen".
He concluded by saying that the UN plan was "not an ultimatum, since it's a proposal for negotiation".
 EU Presidency welcomes UN initiative in CyprusThe Danish Presidency of the European Union, in a declaration on Cyprus issued during the General Affairs and External Relations Council, on 18 - 19 November, welcomes the UN Secretary-General's initiative in putting forward his proposals on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The declaration on Cyprus reads as follows:
"The Presidency warmly welcomes the decision of the UN Secretary-General to put to the two sides in Cyprus his proposals for bridging the gaps which still remained between them after eleven months of negotiation. The Presidency regarded this initiative as a timely one and expressed the hope that the proposals would form the basis for a negotiated agreement.
The Presidency reiterated the willingness of the EU to accommodate the terms of a comprehensive UN settlement in line with the principle on which the European Union is founded and its intention to encourage all those concerned to bring the negotiations to a positive conclusion before the Copenhagen European Council in December so that, at that meeting, it would be possible to welcome a re-united island to the EU".
 EU Heads call on two sides in Cyprus to seize "unique opportunity"The President of the European Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi, the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Pat Cox and the Danish Prime Minister, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose country holds the rotating EU Presidency, welcomed the submission of the UN Secretary-General's proposals for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.
In separate addresses before the European Parliament Assembly in Strasburg yesterday, during a debate on EU enlargement, the three EU officials made references to Cyprus, stressing that there was now a "unique" and "once-in- a-generation" opportunity for a solution to the longstanding conflict and calling upon the leaders of the two communities to "seize this unique opportunity", so that a reunited Cyprus could become member of the Union.
Mr. Prodi, in particular, pointed out that the EU was ready to accommodate the terms of a comprehensive settlement in the accession negotiations with Cyprus.
 Verheugen: EU decision on Cyprus' accession cannot be postponedThe Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, has clarified that the EU would take a decision on Cyprus' accession to the Union at the Copenhagen EU Summit in December, and that a settlement to the Cyprus problem was not a precondition for the completion of the accession negotiations.
Speaking during a press conference he gave jointly with the Danish Prime Minister, the European Parliament President and the European Commission President, in Strasburg yesterday after the enlargement debate at the European Parliament Assembly, Mr. Verheugen said it would be possible to conclude the accession negotiations with Cyprus without prejudging the outcome of the ongoing peace process.
Furthermore, he explained that since Helsinki, the accession of a reunited Cyprus into the EU had been the preferred choice but a solution to the political problem was not a precondition for accession.
With regard to derogations from the acquis communautaire in the UN plan submitted last week by the Secretary-General, the Enlargement Commissioner referred to the statements by the Commission President, Mr. Romano Prodi, during his visit to Nicosia, namely that there were some principles which were non-negotiable and that these were stated clearly in the 2002 Seville European Council Conclusions. "The rest we can accommodate; and we are absolutely prepared to be as flexible as possible", he added.
 Papandreou stresses the need of finding solution in line with EU acquisThe issue of Cyprus' accession to the European Union was at the centre of discussions that the Greek Foreign Minister Mr. George Papandreou had in Brussels, on Monday evening, with his European counterparts. During the course of the dinner, Mr. Papandreou underlined the need of finding a solution in Cyprus that would be in line with the European Union acquis communautaire
Mr. Papandreou stressed to the 15 EU Ministers that the time between now and Copenhagen should be exploited for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, and read extracts of the text that President Clerides had sent to the UN Secretary- General, which included the views of the Cyprus National Council on the UN plan.
The Greek Minister asked the European Union to help the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot communities to work together, live together and cooperate in the best possible manner, should they reach an agreement so that the accession to the European Union would heal any historic problems.
 Cyprus FM meets Danish counterpart and EU CFSP ChiefThe Cyprus Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, held contacts in Brussels on Monday with his Danish counterpart and President of the European Union Council of Ministers, Mr. Per Stig Moller and the High Representative for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana.
Mr. Kasoulides informed the two Community officials on the latest developments in Cyprus, especially in light of the plan submitted by the UN Secretary-General on 11 November for a Cyprus settlement and the forthcoming European Council in Copenhagen, where final decisions on enlargement will be taken.
 Jaques Poos: failure to reach an agreement will not endanger Cyprus' EU accessionIn his intervention at yesterday's Enlargement Debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Rapporteur on Cyprus' accession to the European Union, Mr. Jacques Poos, said that after 28 years of occupation there was now a ray of hope for the peaceful reunification of Cyprus. Expressing the hope that the two sides on the island would accept the basic principles of the UN Secretary-General's proposals, in view of the pressure of the narrow timeframes, Mr. Poos also noted that the Greek Cypriots have already accepted Mr. Annan's proposals as a basis for negotiations, while the Turkish Cypriots continued to use delaying tactics.
Mr. Poos stressed that any intervention by a third party would destroy the delicate balance of the UN plan and this could be verified by the threats of Ankara, which still insisted that even after the political settlement, Cyprus would not be able to accede to the European Union before Turkey. Such a colonial stance would doubt Cyprus' sovereignty, which had been reaffirmed by the UN Security Council resolutions, he said. It would also suppress the views of the trade unions, the opposition parties, and the Turkish Cypriot population, 88% of which had, in a recent referendum, voted in favour of accession, he added.
The European Parliament Rapporteur said that, in view of the fact that each country would be judged according to its own performance, such a veto by Turkey would have no chance but to be rejected categorically, in which case the European Council in Copenhagen would have an easy job, accepting the Republic of Cyprus as an EU member state, based on the relevant Helsinki conclusions.
Concluding, Mr. Poos said that he wanted to clarify to the European Parliament, as Mr Verheugen had done, that a possible failure of the constitutional referendum in one of the two parts of Cyprus would in no way endanger the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. He also expressed the hope that the two sides would seize this historic opportunity to reach an agreement.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/