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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-02-06

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/>

  • [01]Thursday, 06 February 2003 President Clerides: "I firmly believe that 2003 will be a year of historic developments for Cyprus"
  • [02] UN-led peace talks continue
  • [03] President and Foreign Minister convey condolences to US over Columbia explosion
  • [04] Foreign Minister sends condolences to Israeli and Indian counterparts over deaths of Columbia astronauts

    [01] President Clerides: "I firmly believe that 2003 will be a year of historic developments for Cyprus"

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Glafcos Clerides, expressed his certainty that 2003 will be "a year of historic developments for Cyprus" and said that a change in the negotiating team at this point would not be a wise move. Speaking yesterday at a special ceremony in his honour, organised by the New Professionals Movement, the President noted that the handlings as regards the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem have paid off, since any failure to reach a settlement would burden the Turkish side. Mr. Clerides said that he foresaw a change in Turkish policy on Cyprus, especially once the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Mr. Tayyip Erdongan assumed the premiership. He also said that Turkey could not expect to accede to the EU without recognising one of its member states, the Republic of Cyprus, adding that "Mr. Erdogan is forced to take that fact into consideration and adopt a different position, since he claims that Turkey's previous policy on the Cyprus problem was creating problems for the wider Turkish interests." Turkey must also rethink the issue of maintaining its illegal occupation forces in Cyprus, the President stressed, since that would signify an occupation over European soil. "These facts indicate that we are in a course which will lead - taking into consideration and the change in Turkish policy which Mr. Erdogan will be forced to make - to a new approach on the Plan that has been put forward", Mr. Clerides said. Referring to the current interest of the international community in resolving the Cyprus issue, he warned that adopting a negative stance at the negotiating table would cause that interest to swindle away. "If we lose the international community's interest, we will lose the prospect of solving the Cyprus problem", he said. Asked by journalists, after his speech, to say if he saw the need to convene a meeting of the National Council - the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem - he replied that no new development was there to justify such a thing, but the National Council could meet for a briefing. In addition, speaking on Tuesday night in Limassol, at a dinner of the Lions Club, the President said that "we are at a critical crossroad in our course towards resolving the Cyprus problem" and reiterated his conviction that 2003 would be a year of "significant developments". "There is an unprecedented interest in Cyprus; the UN, the US and Europe push for a settlement. All this indicates that no matter how intransigent Rauf Denktash is, at the end of the day the decisions will be taken by Turkey to serve its own interests", he noted. Mr. Clerides also pointed out that in the three letters he had sent to Mr. Kofi Annan, he explained that reaching a comprehensive agreement by 28 February was "out of the question" because there was not enough time to discuss crucial issues mentioned in the plan. Asked to comment on Mr. Denktash's statements questioning the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus in submitting an application to join the EU and whether that could affect Cyprus' EU accession, the President stated firmly that "Mr. Denktash has no chance of success on the issue of sovereignty", adding that neither Europe nor the international community were willing to recognise two separate sovereign states in Cyprus. Replying to another question as to which school of thought would prevail in Turkey, that of Mr. Erdogan or the military, President Clerides predicted that at some stage the Erdogan administration would have to impose its power over the military, in order to comply with Turkey's European aspirations.

    [02] UN-led peace talks continue

    President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, had another meeting yesterday, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto. The meeting took place in the context of the UN-led direct talks for reaching an agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the revised UN solution plan, submitted by the Secretary-General on 10 December 2002. Moreover, yesterday afternoon President Clerides had a separate meeting with Mr. de Soto at the Presidential Palace. Speaking after the meeting, the UN diplomat said that he planned to travel to New York next week, at the UN Secretary-General's request, in order to brief Mr. Kofi Annan on the latest developments as regards the peace talks. He said that he would return to the island "very soon". Invited to say whether he would be bringing a new revised plan with him, he replied, "I don't know what I will come back with". Asked if the peace process had reached an impasse, Mr. de Soto replied negatively and noted that he did not use such terms. On his part, President Clerides said that nothing new had come out of his meeting with the UN diplomat and that he had no information on a possible submission of another revised plan. Invited to comment on a report by the illegal station "Bayrak" that Mr. Clerides accepted the Annan plan as it was, the President wondered how that was possible when he had already submitted amendments to the plan. He added that the report was "distorted". The President noted that he had told Mr. Denktash that the latter was trying to escape from the Annan plan and tailor it according to his preferences, and that if Mr. Clerides was to do the same, no solution would be possible. "I told him then that the only way [for a solution] was the Annan plan", Mr. Clerides added. Commenting on a remark by the Turkish Cypriot leader that Mr. Clerides was "intransigent" and that the Greek Cypriot side had rejected all the points that he had put forward, the President said, "Of course I rejected them because the points he is raising are aimed at imposing his positions with regard to a solution to the Cyprus problem." Mr. Clerides also said that Mr. Denktash "has not yet refused to discuss the territorial issue; he has refused to accept the map, but has not said what sort of amendments he wants on that map". He underlined that the Turkish Cypriot leader was using delaying tactics.

    [03] President and Foreign Minister convey condolences to US over Columbia explosion

    President Clerides and the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, have conveyed messages of condolence to the US President and the US Secretary of State, respectively, expressing Cyprus' "deepest sympathies and grief" for the tragic explosion of the Columbia space shuttle on its way to earth last Saturday. President Clerides' message of condolences to his American counterpart, Mr. George W. Bush, was as follows: "Please accept my sincere condolences for the tragic Columbia Space Shuttle disaster that cost the lives of the seven courageous crew members. I express the shock and profound grief of my Government and the people of Cyprus for this unexpected tragedy. Let me assure you Mr. President that though these brave men and women have perished, their enormous dedication and contribution to space science and technology will remain indelible in our memories. I would kindly ask you to convey to the families of the deceased our deepest sympathies and grief." Mr. Kasoulides' respective message to the US Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell, was the following: "Please accept my sincere condolences for the tragic Columbia Space Shuttle disaster that cost the lives of the seven courageous crew members. I express the shock and profound grief of my Government and the people of Cyprus for this unexpected tragedy. Let me assure you Mr. Secretary that though these brave men and women have perished, their enormous dedication and contribution to space science and technology will remain indelible in our memories. I would kindly ask you to convey to the families of the deceased our deepest sympathies and grief."

    [04] Foreign Minister sends condolences to Israeli and Indian counterparts over deaths of Columbia astronauts

    The Foreign Minister has conveyed messages of condolence to his Israeli and Indian counterparts over the deaths of the Israeli and Indian astronauts, respectively, who were on board the Columbia space shuttle. Mr. Kasoulides sent the following message to his Israeli counterpart, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu: "It was with profound sorrow and shock that I have received the tragic news of the Columbia space shuttle disaster. On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus and myself I wish to express our sincere condolences for the tragic loss of the courageous Israeli astronaut. I would kindly ask you to convey to the family of the deceased our deepest sympathies and grief." His message to his Indian counterpart, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, was as follows: "It was with profound sorrow and shock that I have received the tragic news of the Columbia space shuttle disaster. On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Cyprus and myself I wish to express our sincere condolences for the tragic loss of the courageous Indian astronaut. I would kindly ask you to convey to the family of the deceased our deepest sympathies and grief."

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


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