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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-02-25

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 <>

  • [01]Tuesday, 25 February 2003 Simitis: minimal chances for settlement within set timeframe
  • [02] President-elect: Turkish intransigence remains
  • [03] UN Chief still hopeful for a settlement by Friday
  • [04] Washington reiterates support for UN peace efforts in Cyprus

    [01] Simitis: minimal chances for settlement within set timeframe

    The Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Costas Simitis, said that the chances of reaching a successful outcome at the negotiating table, within the time framework set by the UN, are "minimal to almost non-existent" due to the intransigence of the Turkish side and especially the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash. Speaking yesterday after his meeting with the newly- elected Cyprus President, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, the Greek Premier stressed that in order for a settlement of the Cyprus problem to be reached within the specific time limits mentioned in the Annan plan, there would have to be political will by the Turkish side, noting that the Turkish Cypriot leader remained intransigent in spite of the rising voices of dissent within the Turkish Cypriot community. Mr. Simitis further noted the Greek government's "firm position" that the Greek Cypriot side had "the initiative on all issues concerning Cyprus and the solution of the Cyprus problem". He added that the Greek government "expresses its view and offers support, but it is the [Greek] Cypriot side that leads the developments". Regarding Cyprus' EU accession course, the Greek Prime Minister underlined that it was progressing smoothly, adding that everything would be ready so that Cyprus, along with the other acceding countries, could sign its Accession Treaty on 16 April, in Athens. On his meeting with the new Cyprus President, Mr. Simitis said that it aimed at exchanging information and coordinating the next steps of the Greek and Cyprus governments in pursuing their common goals. He also reiterated Greece's constant support to Mr. Papadopoulos and the people of Cyprus in the efforts for resolving the Cyprus issue. On his part, the President-elect, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, thanked the Greek government and the people of Greece for their support in promoting Cyprus' EU accession course and the efforts for finding a settlement. He said that there was an extensive exchange of information with Mr. Simitis on the present phase of the peace efforts as well as on the future prospects, noting, "Once more, the identity of views and planning for the successful outcome of these negotiations was reconfirmed." "Our honest desire is to exploit this historic juncture in order to possibly bend the Turkish intransigence, and achieve a solution that would be to the benefit of the entire Cyprus people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and that will come out of the negotiations in the framework of the Annan plan", Mr. Papadopoulos said. Asked to say if the UN Secretary- General, Mr. Kofi Annan, would pursue a settlement and the continuation of the peace talks on the basis of the UN memorandum that was handed to Mr. Papadopoulos two days ago, the President-elect replied, "the memorandum that has been given to be is for further negotiations in Nicosia, if we wish to do that, with the negotiating team and Mr. Alvaro de Soto [the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus], and this will take place today and tomorrow and later on of course if Mr. Annan wishes to discuss with us the same points. This is the meaning of negotiations." Mr. Papadopoulos, who travelled to the Greek capital on his first official visit as the new Cyprus President, met later yesterday with the President of the Greek House of Representatives, Mr. Apostolos Kaklamanis, and the leaders Greece's political parties. He was expected to meet with the Foreign Minister, Mr. George Papandreou, this morning, prior to his departure.

    [02] President-elect: Turkish intransigence remains

    The President-elect, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, stressed that he had discovered, from his intensive talks with UN representatives since his election to the presidency, that "the Turkish positions basically remain irremovable and Mr. Denktash's positions are even more intransigent than those being expressed by the Turkish Cypriot community from time to time." Speaking at a press briefing of the Foreign Press Association, yesterday in Athens, Mr. Papadopoulos noted that "the historic junctures compel the need for decision-making as regards the future course both by the United Nations and by the two communities in Cyprus", and reiterated his good intention to negotiate for a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr. Papadopoulos also said that he conveyed the gratitude of the Cyprus people to Greece for being "the most unselfish and helpful supporter of Cyprus".

    [03] UN Chief still hopeful for a settlement by Friday

    The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, stated yesterday from Turkey that despite the short time left, an agreement could still be reached to enable a reunited Cyprus to sign the EU Accession Treaty on 16 April. "We have a unique window of opportunity to try and get united Cyprus into the European Union. That is why I am here despite the urgent crisis of Iraq that the United Nations is dealing with right now", Mr. Annan told reporters after a meeting with the leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "We have been discussing and searching for a settlement for a long time. The issues are well known; we have had intensive consultations with the parties. Ever since I first put down a plan, we have been in discussions with them. And my envoy, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, has also been speaking to Mr. [Tassos] Papadopoulos, the new Greek Cypriot Leader, since his election on the 16th, and we hope that with good will and determination we will get an agreement and not miss this unique opportunity. We've been discussing the plans with them, we know their concerns and their worries and they also have the sense of what to expect from me and what we have in mind. I will be giving them a fresh document in the next day or so", the UN Chief said. Moreover, in statements to the press upon his arrival in Ankara last Sunday, Mr. Annan noted that the defining moment for Cyprus had come, as "we have reached the high point in the effort under way to solve the Cyprus problem". Citing the April date for signing the Accession Treaties with the EU candidate states, he said, "I devoutly hope that the Treaty will be signed on behalf of a united Cyprus. This is also the strong preference of the European Union". He explained that for that to be possible, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots would have to decide, in separate simultaneous referendums on 30 March, whether they approved the settlement found or not. "For this to happen", he added, "the leaders must come to terms in time for those referendums to go forward. That time is now. That is why I am here. I wish to do all I can to encourage the leaders to muster the spirit of compromise, courage and leadership of which they are capable." Mr. Annan said that his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr. de Soto, was in close contact with the parties concerned, as well as with the new interlocutor of the Greek Cypriot side, Mr. Papadopoulos, hearing their views and examining whether and how it might be possible to improve the peace plan, "while preserving the overall balance that it contains". He also said that the purpose of his consultations with the Turkish government, and with the Greek government later on, was to discuss "how the two motherlands can rally in support of this last effort, and assist the parties in coming to terms". "The opportunity is open. It is clearly in the interest of all - Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Greece and Turkey, to seize this opportunity now. There is little time, let us take advantage of it", Mr. Annan concluded. The UN Secretary-General is expected to Cyprus tomorrow, after a one-day stop in Athens.

    [04] Washington reiterates support for UN peace efforts in Cyprus

    The US State Department Deputy Spokesman, Mr. Philip T. Reeker, said that Washington still believed that there was a historic opportunity to resolve the Cyprus issue, and reiterated the US's support to the UN Secretary- General's peace efforts in Cyprus. Answering a question on Cyprus, during yesterday's press briefing, the US Spokesman stated the following: "We have long supported the Secretary-General and the United Nations' efforts to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We had welcomed the decision by Greece and Turkey to meet in Ankara with UN participation and to discuss that, and you know the target date had been the end of this week. We will continue to support the Secretary-General in his efforts. Obviously, as soon as possible would be the best thing for the parties. We still think there is a historic opportunity to solve this longstanding issue and we have been urging at the highest levels the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey and Greece to show flexibility and determination to really seize this opportunity and we think it can occur on the basis of the UN comprehensive settlement proposal."

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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