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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-12-02
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Monday, 2 December 2002
 National Council convenes to discuss changes on Annan planThe Cyprus National Council, the President's top advisory body on the Cyprus problem, convenes today in order to discuss issues of the UN plan that need to be clarified or amended, as the UN Secretary-General had requested.
 Cyprus FM: agreement by Copenhagen Summit is extremely difficult"Time limits have shortened to the extent that it is extremely difficult to reach an agreement on a solution to the Cyprus problem by the Copenhagen European Summit, but we must remain firm to our policy", the Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides emphasised, speaking to the press at Larnaca airport last night upon his arrival from Sweden, where he held contacts with his Swedish counterpart and various parliamentary committees.
Invited to clarify what he meant by his description of the UN plan as "balanced", during his speech before the British House of Commons, Mr. Kasoulides explained that he tried to refrain from saying whether the plan was positive or negative, and that he cited evidence that supported the use of the term "balanced".
"By saying that the plan is balanced, I mean that it addresses a lot of concerns of both sides, but at the same time it creates new concerns at least for our side", Mr. Kasoulides noted. "The issue of settlers, the issue of armed forces, the issue of the 20-year period for the refugees to return", were some of these concerns, he added.
Replying to a question on the changes that needed to be made to the UN solution plan, Mr. Kasoulides said that any amendments must take into consideration the sensitivities and concerns of the public opinion, as for example the restrictions on the basic freedoms.
"A solution must not only be balanced in order to be functional, but the individuals who will implement it must feel a sense of justice", he concluded.
 House President: time limits for agreement have been exhaustedThe President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimitris Christofias, expressed the view that time limits for an agreement on a solution by 12 December have been exhausted.
Speaking to the press last Friday, the House President said that it was "an ultimatum and a utopia" for someone to believe that an agreement could be reached prior to the Copenhagen European Summit. "Consequently", Mr. Christofias argued, "the Greek Cypriot side will retain its constructive stance and after Copenhagen, namely, it will maintain its position that this document is a document on which we can negotiate in order to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, and this is the message we convey to all our interlocutors."
Invited to say if Mr. Denktash's reply to the UN Secretary-General implied an acceptance to negotiate on the plan, the House President said that he thought Mr. Denktash wanted clarifications and amendments prior to deciding whether he would negotiate or not.
Asked on the possibility of pushing back the deadline for reaching a solution to April 2003, prior to the signing of the Accession Treaty, Mr. Christofias made reference to the Greek Prime Minister's statement that "we will not accept asterisks, stars or tails", and reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side must portray its readiness to discuss the UN plan as a basis for negotiation and make efforts to avoid ultimatums and restrictive provisions.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/