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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-21

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/>

Tuesday, 21 January 2003


CONTENTS

  • [01] A settlement requires courage, political will and willingness to compromise, says De Soto
  • [02] House President meets Italian counterpart in Rome
  • [03] London Borough sends resolution to Prime Minister on just solution for Cyprus


[01] A settlement requires courage, political will and willingness to compromise, says De Soto

The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, expressed the view that a settlement of the Cyprus problem by 28 February was still feasible, but it would require "courage, political will, willingness to compromise and very hard work".

Speaking to the press after a meeting with President Clerides, yesterday at the Presidential Palace, Mr. de Soto said that he was not pessimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement after the February deadline, although "it would be very difficult to say what is going to happen afterward, which is why we strongly believe that the chance to get a settlement within reason by both sides is now, in the next few weeks, by the end of February".

Invited to say if the Secretary-General would stop his efforts if not solution was found by then, he replied, "I wouldn't say stop his efforts. He has a broad mandate of good offices from the Security Council but the fact is that the Secretary-General, in the last two or three years, has devoted more efforts and resources to the good offices on Cyprus than ever before, and that is because we saw an opportunity and it is not clear that an opportunity will remain unless this is taken advantage of".

Asked to say what the goal of yesterday's meeting with the President was, given that he meets with the two leaders thrice a week - in the framework of the UN-led direct peace talks - Mr. de Soto noted that he tried to see them frequently, in between meetings, and that he had met with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, earlier yesterday morning.

On the work of the technical ad hoc committees, the UN envoy said that they had "masses of work to do but at least they are approaching them by and large constructively".

Mr. de Soto also noted, in reply to another question, that he was not aware of any plan for a possible visit of the Secretary-General to the island.

Also speaking after the meeting, President Clerides told journalists that he had "nothing new" regarding a possible visit by Mr. Kofi Annan to Cyprus.

Asked if the UN had threatened to interrupt the talks if the 28 February deadline was not met, Mr. Clerides replied negatively.

The President of the Republic, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, met yesterday afternoon with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, in the presence of Mr. Alvaro de Soto, in the context of intensified efforts by the UN to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by 28 February 2003, on the basis of the revised plan put forward by Mr. Annan on 10 December 2002.

Their next meeting, within the framework of the UN-led talks, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Moreover, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Fred Eckhard, made reference to Cyprus during yesterday's regular press briefing at UN headquarters.

Asked to respond to statements by Mr. Denktash calling the UN efforts in Cyprus "a crime against humanity", the UN Spokesman noted that if Mr. Denktash had said that, he would have to disagree.

The Secretary-General, he claimed, was offering his good offices so that a unified Cyprus could enter into the European Union, adding, "He's trying to help them".

Told that there had been criticism of his own earlier comments that it would be a tragedy if the current opportunity were lost, Mr. Eckhard said that Mr. Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, had made similar comments. "The United Nations", he added, "feels that if an agreement is not reached by the end of February, it is hard to see what new opportunity would present itself."

[02] House President meets Italian counterpart in Rome

The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Demetris Christofias, who is on an official two-day visit to Rome, met yesterday with his Italian counterpart, Mr. Pierferdinando Casini, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' EU accession course, as well as bilateral relations, the situation in the Middle East and Iraq, and the Mediterranean dimension of an enlarged EU.

The President of the Italian Parliament said that he was very satisfied with the successful conclusion of Cyprus' accession course and expressed the belief that EU membership would act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem, since Turkey could not accede to the EU before the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

The Cyprus House President thanked Mr. Casini for his country's support toward Cyprus' efforts to join the EU as a full member, and informed him on the latest developments as regards the UN efforts for a solution on the basis of the Annan plan.

Unfortunately, Mr. Christofias stressed, the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Denktash and the military establishment in Turkey, unlike the Greek Cypriot side, do not appear willing to negotiate substantively on the UN plan.

[03] London Borough sends resolution to Prime Minister on just solution for Cyprus

The London Borough of Barnet has communicated last week to the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, its resolution on Cyprus - approved by its Council members on 7 January 2003 - which calls on Mr. Blair to use his influence on the new Turkish government to persuade it to cooperate in a permanent, fair and just solution of the Cyprus problem.

The full text of the resolution reads as follows:

"Council salutes the historic decision taken by the European Union at the Copenhagen Summit on 12th-13th December 2002 to invite the Republic of Cyprus to join the EU. Council welcomes the great benefit this will bring to the 35,000 Barnet citizens of Greek Cypriot origin, many of whom have families still living in Cyprus.

Council expresses its hope that membership of the European Union will act as a catalyst for the development of a solution to the long-standing problem of the division of Cyprus. Council maintains that such a solution should conform to the internationally recognised principles of international law, the purposes and principles of the United Nations and its Resolutions on Cyprus, and to the European acquis communautaire. It also believes that any agreement should conform to the European Convention on Human Rights so as to safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the voluntary right of return of all refugees to their homes without discrimination.

Council instructs the Chief Executive to write again to the Prime Minister urging him to use his influence on the new Turkish Government to persuade them to co-operate in a permanent, fair and just solution for Cyprus."


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


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