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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-11-28

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

Thursday, 28 November 2002


CONTENTS

  • [01] UN Chief asks two sides to submit comments on solution plan
  • [02] Jack Straw: an historic chance for peace
  • [03] Colin Powell sees "historic opportunity" to solve the Cyprus problem
  • [04] France supports Secretary-General's efforts for solution


[01] UN Chief asks two sides to submit comments on solution plan

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has sent letters on Tuesday, 26 November, to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, asking them to communicate to his Special Adviser, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, by Saturday, 30 November 2002, "their comments, suggestions or requests on his suggested basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, so as to enable the process to move forward", a spokesman for the Secretary- General said yesterday in a press statement.

The spokesman, Mr. Stephane Dujarric, also told reporters that Mr. Annan had received yesterday a reply, from Mr. Denktash, to his earlier letter of 11 November which called for an initial response to the Secretary-General's proposals for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

"The letter is being studied, but it does confirm that Mr. Denktash is prepared to negotiate on the basis of the proposals attached to the Secretary-General's letter of 11 November", Mr. Dujarric noted in the press statement.

[02] Jack Straw: an historic chance for peace

The Cyprus Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, had a meeting yesterday in London with his British counterpart, Mr. Jack Straw.

According to a press release issued by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Straw made the following statement after the meeting:

"I was delighted to see my Cypriot colleague in London. Britain and Cyprus are long-standing friends, and it was a pleasure to talk to him.

We discussed the urgent need for a solution of the Cyprus problem, which has gone on for far too long. I congratulated Mr. Kasoulides on President Clerides' acceptance of the UN proposals as a basis for negotiation. We believe that every effort must be made to secure a settlement before the Copenhagen European Council on 12 December, at which key decisions on Cyprus' candidacy will be taken.

I urge both sides to respond quickly to Kofi Annan's request for full and substantive comments by 30 November on the proposals. I believe we have a historic chance this year to bring peace and prosperity to the Eastern Mediterranean by means of accession to the EU by a re-united island."

Invited by reporters to say whether Britain stuck to the relevant conclusions of the Helsinki European Council in December 1999, according to which a solution of the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for Cyprus' EU accession, the British Foreign Secretary noted: "Yes, of course we stick to Helsinki and our position in respect of Cyprus' accession is that same as in respect of any other country's application for accession - it is that there are clear criteria set out in previous Copenhagen conclusions and in Helsinki and if countries meet those then it is right and proper that the European Council should accept the application for membership."

For his part, the Cyprus Foreign Minister stated the following:

"We have discussed the efforts that are now underway to reach a settlement on the negotiated basis of the Kofi Annan plan. We have, indeed, received a letter, which President Clerides is now studying. He will consult with the National Council tomorrow and will take his decisions. But we have never failed the Secretary-General in all our approaches so far. I hope that this will be the case again, although I don't know what decisions will be taken. But for us it has always been from the beginning of these negotiations last year, that the target date to have a settlement and to try for a settlement is the 12th December. We view it as a target date and not as a guillotine, in the sense that we will do our best that it is solved, but if it's not and who knows why, then we will continue after Copenhagen."

Asked to say whether he observed any indication for a possible British initiative, Mr. Kasoulides said that London would continue its current efforts of supporting, "behind the scenes", the UN Secretary-General's good offices.

Invited to state what conclusions he drew from the meeting, he noted: "The only thing I can say, which you have heard from the British Foreign Secretary himself, is that whatever happens at Copenhagen, Cyprus will join the European Union, one way or another."

[03] Colin Powell sees "historic opportunity" to solve the Cyprus problem

The Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. George Papandreou, met with the US Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell, yesterday at the State Department in Washington D.C.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr. Powell said their discussion focused on the opportunity for progress regarding the UN Secretary- General's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and Turkey's accession to the European Union.

On Cyprus, the US Secretary of State expressed hope that both sides realise that the time period between now and Copenhagen was "an historic opportunity to solve the longstanding problem." He also hoped that the two sides would respond to the Secretary-General's request for substantive comments on his proposals by 30 November "in a way that allows the process to move forward."

The Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. Papandreou, said that the European Union would make an historic decision on the 12 December at Copenhagen and added that the Greek side was making efforts so that a reunited Cyprus could be welcomed into the EU.

With regard to Turkey's accession course, Mr. Papandreou said that Greece "has been up front in saying that we would want to see a very positive message towards Turkey and therefore looking at a specific date for the beginning of accession discussions with Turkey and the European Union."

"This, of course, would be within the criteria that all candidate countries would have to fulfill", the Greek FM noted, adding that "it would be a very positive message and would keep an important movement, we are now seeing in Turkey, for change, for deepening institutions, human rights, and of course for the Cyprus problem."

[04] France supports Secretary-General's efforts for solution

The Spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry made reference to Cyprus, on Tuesday during the regular press briefing, replying to a question on France's position regarding the renewal of UNFICYP's mandate.

Specifically, the Spokesman said that France welcomed with satisfaction the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1442 (2002) of the UN Security Council, by which the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is renewed until 15 June 2003.

"France takes this opportunity to reiterate its support to the U.N. Secretary-General and his special adviser, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, for their efforts to resolve the difficult question of Cyprus", the Spokesman said.

Asked whether he thought there would be a conclusion in resolving the Cyprus issue, he simply reiterated his country's support to Mr. Annan's efforts that "go in the right direction."

"With regard to Cyprus' candidacy", he added, "I am not going to prejudge what will be decided at the Copenhagen Summit because these matters are discussed among the Fifteen."


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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