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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-01-24
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
Friday, 24 January 2003
 President Clerides' statements in relation to his interview to "Hurriyet"The President of the Republic, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, replied to the following press questions yesterday, regarding his interview to the Turkish daily newspaper "Hurriyet."
Question: Your interview to "Hurriyet" created a big commotion. The interview that was published states that, in essence, you support Mr Denktash, saying that it would not be proper for the interlocutor to change in the middle of the negotiations. What was said exactly?
Answer: What I have said is this: First that it is not proper in the middle of a negotiation to change the team of negotiators because instead of moving forward to solve the Cyprus problem, we may be going backwards. The new negotiator may have totally different views and then we will have to start all over again. Second, while Mr Denktash remains the negotiator, I do not have the right to say that he has to leave. It is his side that has this right. You cannot negotiate with a person and tell him that you do not want him. This is common sense and a matter of order. In the same way, that Mr Denktash may prefer someone else but he does not say /Clerides must leave/, so Clerides cannot say either that Denktash must leave. This will be said by the Greek or the Turkish side. We cannot get involved in the issue of the interlocutor of the other side. We have an interlocutor and we are ready to talk. If the Turkish side decides to change its interlocutor, then we will gladly accept the change. If the Greek Cypriot side wants to change Clerides, they (the Turkish side) will say that they should attend the talks.
Question: At a time when there are reactions in the Turkish occupied areas against Mr Denktash, the Turkish Cypriots listen to the President of the Republic saying that we will have a delay if Mr Denktash leaves. Is it not possible that this statement can be construed as a support for Mr Denktash?
Answer: No, this is not at all a support for Mr Denktash. It is a support for the basic principle that when you are negotiating you do not change the negotiators in the middle of the negotiations, unless your side decides that it wants a change. The Turkish side seems to have decided that it wants a change, but it is not I who will say to Mr Denktash /I do not want you/. Please note another point which is very important: there is an effort by the Turkish side to make it appear that it is our side which incites the up rises against Mr Denktash. We do not incite them at all. We just watch them and it is up to the Turkish Cypriot side to decide what to do.
Question: Mr Denktash also gave an interview to Hurriyet, which was published today. With this interview Denktash supports you, and in fact your opposition, here, say that he just returned the complement and support he received.
Answer: Mr Denktash would have made a grave mistake if he had said that he did not wish to negotiate with Mr Clerides and that he wanted him to be substituted with another negotiator. He cannot dictate who will be the Greek Cypriot side's negotiator. In the same way that I cannot impose on the Turkish Cypriot side the person I want, neither can he impose on our side the person he wants.
Question: Mr Denktash went on to say that he does not want Mr Papadopoulos.
Answer: It is not an issue on which Mr Denktash has a say. The Greek Cypriot side will decide who they want, and not Mr Denktash.
 Denktash is not irreplaceable, says Foreign MinisterThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, made the following statement yesterday:
"My remark has to do with the statement by the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yakis, which is crystal clear and says that if Mr. Denktash is not prepared to sign the solution of the Cyprus problem, he is not irreplaceable and that somebody else will have to take over and sign it. You realize that the new Turkish Government continues to support this position and to be in conflict with Mr. Denktash."
Replying to a question regarding Mr. Yakis' statement in "Turkish Daily News" that Mr. Denktash is a very good negotiator and that he has his full support, Mr. Kasoulides pointed out that Mr. Denktash should sign, otherwise, somebody else would have to sign in his place since he is not irreplaceable.
Invited to comment on Mr. Yakis' open support towards Denktash's policy, Mr. Kasoulides said he interpreted the remark not as support for Mr. Denktash, but as an instruction from Ankara for Denktash to proceed with the signing of the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Commenting on the President Clerides' statements that it would be wrong if Mr. Denktash were replaced in the middle of negotiations, Mr. Kasoulides said:
"It saddens me that some people wish to use "Hurriyet" as a means for propaganda in the pre election campaign. I believe that if somebody reads the interview carefully, he will realize the following: If Denktash leaves and is replaced, there will be some delay in the efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, and of course, it will certainly be for the better and things could easily be corrected. If our side's negotiator does not change, there will be a delay, but Mr. Clerides will have the advantage of being able to maintain and utilize this potential."
 Verheugen: Cyprus will join EU on 1 May 2004 irrespective of solutionThe Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, expressed the certainty that Cyprus would join the European Union as a full member, on 1 May 2004, with or without a solution to the Cyprus problem, as that was the decision taken at the Copenhagen European Council of last December.
Speaking before the European Parliament Committee for External Relations, in Brussels yesterday, Mr. Verheugen said that the European Commission fully supported the UN Secretary-General's efforts for reaching an agreement in Cyprus by 28 February 2003, so that a reunited island could sign the Accession Treaty in April, and he called on the Turkish Cypriot leadership to listen to the voice of the people and adopt a constructive stance in the peace talks.
He also communicated the Commission's readiness to organise an international donor conference, in order to provide financial support in the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question.
"In this crucial phase of the UN negotiations aiming to reach a settlement in Cyprus, the international community should express solidarity", the Commissioner noted, adding that this meant "it should be ready to support the costs linked to a political solution and the reconciliation of the two communities in Cyprus".
Referring to the Turkish Cypriots, he said that their recent mass demonstrations in the occupied areas, calling for the resignation of their leader Mr. Rauf Denktash, indicated their desire to join the EU, and noted that no one could punish them if a settlement was not reached. Mr. Verheugen also expressed hope that the Turkish Cypriot representatives would participate constructively in the peace process, so that a solution could be found.
He reiterated that the EU was ready to provide considerable financial support as soon as a settlement was reached, to help overcome economic disparities on the island and prepare the northern part for EU membership.
In addition, the Commission stated in a press release, issued yesterday, that the international community's support would provide the necessary assurances and guarantees for the future of those persons affected by a comprehensive settlement.
On the donor conference to be organised, the press release noted that it should be convened as soon as a settlement was reached and endorsed by the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. "As a first step, the European Commission would be prepared to make a needs assessment and to contact countries and international institutions which are ready to contribute and to provide their expertise."
"The Commission underlines the strong preference expressed by the Copenhagen European Council for the accession of a united Cyprus to the European Union and, with this in view, emphasises the importance of finalising a comprehensive settlement by 28 February. It urges the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to seize this unique opportunity ", it concluded.
 Maurer: Cyprus among best of all candidates in applying EU acquisThe European Commission's Head Negotiator for Cyprus, Mr. Leopold Maurer, said that Cyprus had a very good performance, "probably one of the best among all the candidate states", as regards the harmonisation process and the application of the EU acquis communautaire.
Speaking yesterday during a joint press conference with Cyprus' Chief EU Negotiator, Mr. George Vassiliou, Mr. Maurer said that the Commission's monitoring delegation was satisfied with the progress achieved vis-a-vis Cyprus' harmonisation commitments, particularly on the issues of taxation, money laundering and shipping. He noted, however, some delays in the fields of telecommunications, energy, electricity and free movement of goods.
He said that Cyprus' top performance in applying the acquis communautaire had to do with it being "the richest candidate country", with a very efficient civil service and a sound administrative system.
The Commission official explained that the monitoring process would continue over the next few months on a systematic scale, in view of preparing the final report on the implementation of EU legislation, six months prior to Cyprus' accession in May 2004.
Asked by journalists to say what measures would be taken to assist the transposition of the acquis to the occupied areas of the island, after a possible solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr. Maurer said that the Commission was willing to provide the Turkish Cypriot community with 206 million euro, in the form of structural funds, and other financial aid in the context of a Peace Package for Cyprus, in order to promote reconciliation between the two communities on the island and to overcome existing economic disparities.
He cited earlier statements by the Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, expressing the Commission's pledge to convene an international donor conference, in order to amass financial support for Cyprus.
Also citing Mr. Verheugen's earlier statements on Cyprus before the European Parliament Committee for External Relations, Mr. Maurer reiterated the Commission's strong interest in the achievement of a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem by the end of February, so that a reunited island could sign the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003, in Athens.
On his part, Cyprus' Chief EU Negotiator, Mr. Vassiliou, expressed satisfaction with Mr. Maurer's positive remarks on the implementation of the acquis, but noted that there were still 236 bills to be prepared and adopted by 1 May 2004, in the context of EU harmonisation.
"You do realise that the Law Office of the Republic, other Government authorities and the Parliament have a huge task to accomplish before the process of implementing the acquis is completed and the right image for Cyprus is created in the EU", Mr. Vassiliou stressed, adding that some delays might occur since the Law Office was now fully engaged with the UN efforts to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem.
The European Commission official had a meeting yesterday with the President of the Republic, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, and with the House Committee for European Affairs.
 UN to seek submissions for Cyprus flag and anthemThe Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Ms. Hua Jiang, made reference to Cyprus during yesterday's regular press briefing at UN headquarters, saying that the UN got authorisation by the two interlocutors in the peace talks, President Clerides and Mr. Denktash, to declare a competition for submissions on a flag and anthem for Cyprus, to be adopted once a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the revised Annan plan, was reached.
The UN Spokesperson's reference on Cyprus is as follows:
"During a Wednesday meeting which covered a variety of subjects, Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, authorized the United Nations to seek submissions on a flag and anthem for Cyprus through open public competition, as foreseen in the proposal for a comprehensive settlement put to them by the Secretary- General last December 10.
The parties agreed that this procedure needed to be set in motion if a flag and anthem were to be ready to be included in a completed agreement by February 28, so as to enable the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to decide on the settlement in separate referenda on 30 March 2003.
It is understood that the flag and anthem would only be adopted as part of a comprehensive settlement if the entire plan is approved in the separate referenda and a new state of affairs comes into being.
This decision reflects a shared commitment to ensure that all preparations are made for a completed agreement, in accordance with the timeframe proposed by the Secretary-General. It should not be taken as an indication of the state of play in the ongoing negotiations."
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/