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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-02-28

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]Friday, 28 February 2003 Leaders agree to meet on 10 March in The Hague
  • [02] UN Chief hosts lunch for G/C and T/C party leaders
  • [03] Greek Foreign Minister discusses Cyprus problem in Washington
  • [04] Schwimmer: "Cypriots must not miss their date with history"

    [01] Leaders agree to meet on 10 March in The Hague

    The leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, President Tassos Papadopoulos and Mr Rauf Denktash, have agreed to meet with the UN Secretary-General in The Hague on 10 March 2003, with a view to announcing whether or not they would sign a commitment to submit the foundation agreement to approval at separate referenda in both communities on 30 March. The above was announced by Mr Kofi Annan this morning, after his joint meeting with Mr Papadopoulos and Mr Denktash, and in the presence of outgoing President Mr Glafcos Clerides. In a written statement read out after the meeting, held at 10:00 a.m. at the Nicosia Conference Centre in the UN-controlled area of the Nicosia airport, the UN Secretary-General noted the following: "We had a very constructive discussion. I have an announcement to make: The two leaders have just told me they have accepted my invitation to come to The Hague on 10 March. I had told them yesterday that I would expect them to arrive prepared there and then to tell me whether or not they would sign a commitment in The Hague to submit the Foundation Agreement to approval at separate simultaneous referenda on 30 March in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. I have also asked the leaders to arrive in the Hague having completed all necessary internal consultation processes, so that on 10 March their response is definitive.'' Moreover, the new Cyprus President and interlocutor of the Greek Cypriot side at the talks, Mr Papadopoulos, said, after Mr Annan's statements, that on 10 March "we must say either 'yes' or 'no' to the UN Secretary-General", adding that "this is just an agreement to meet with the UN S-G." Asked by journalists to say if ten days were sufficient time for the two sides to examine the new plan and decide whether to agree or not to a referendum, President Papadopoulos replied, "We will try. We will mainly examine the document with all the political parties at the National Council, in order to have a clear idea as to what we want." Invited to say if there would be further meetings between him and Mr Denktash in the presence of Mr Alvaro de Soto from now until 10 March, he underlined that the UN Secretary- General's Special Adviser was willing to arrange a meeting, both private and joint, whenever any of the leaders would ask for one. On a question about Mr Denktash's proclaimed intention to carry out a pre-referendum in the Turkish occupied areas, Mr Papadopoulos said that the Turkish Cypriot leader mentioned at the meeting that he was still examining such a possibility. At the same time, the Cyprus President cited Mr Annan's wish that "all necessary internal consultation processes" must be concluded by 10 March.

    [02] UN Chief hosts lunch for G/C and T/C party leaders

    The UN Secretary-General hosted yesterday a working lunch for political party leaders from both communities, following his morning joint meeting with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, to whom he presented his third revised solution plan. The working lunch was held at the residence of the Secretary-General's Acting Special Representative and UNFICYP Chief of Mission, Mr Zbigniew Wlosowicz, and was attended by 14 leaders or representatives of the island's political parties. Specifically, eight leaders or representatives of Greek Cypriot parties attended the lunch: AKEL General Secretary Mr Demetris Christofias, Democratic Rally President Mr Nicos Anastasiades, Democratic Party Acting President Mr Nicos Cleanthous, Social Democrats Movement President Mr Yiannakis Omirou, New Horizons Party President Mr Nicos Koutsou, United Democrats President Mr George Vassiliou, Fighting Democratic Movement President Mr Dinos Michaelides and the General Secretary of the Environmentalists Movement Mr George Perdikis. From the Turkish Cypriot political leadership were Mr Dervis Eroglu, President of the National Unity party, Mr Huseyin Angolemi, President of the Communal Liberation Party, Mr Serdar Denktash and Mr Attay Ahmet Rasit, President and Foreign Affairs Head of the Democratic Party, respectively, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, President of the Republican Turkish Party, and Mr Ertugrul Hasipoglu, President of the Progress Party. Apart from Mr Annan and the party leaders, also sitting at the lunch were his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto and his aide, Mr Didier Pfirter, the UN Under Secretary for political affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, and Mr Wlosowicz. Speaking after the lunch, Mr Annan said that he would be meeting again today morning with the leaders of the two sides and the outgoing Cyprus President Mr Glafcos Clerides. Invited by a journalist to say whether he was hopeful or not that the negotiations could be wrapped up in the next couple of days, he replied, "I see you are too young to be pessimistic. Why not?" The Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Mr Fred Eckhard, announced yesterday, during the daily press briefing at UN Headquarters, that Mr Annan was scheduled to drop by an exhibition given by Greek and Turkish Cypriot artists, held at the Hilton Hotel where he was staying. Moreover, asked to reveal what the outcome of Mr Annan's meeting with Mr Denktash was, the UN Spokesman replied, "We don't have an outcome to announce and it wasn't just with Mr Denktash as I mentioned to you. He met with the three leaders this morning. They are coming back tomorrow [today] at 10 and we will see what happens then."

    [03] Greek Foreign Minister discusses Cyprus problem in Washington

    The Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the EU Council of Ministers, Mr George Papandreou, held contacts in Washington D.C. yesterday with the US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell and the National Security Adviser to the US President, Ms Condoleeza Rice, with whom he discussed inter alia the Cyprus problem. Speaking after his meeting with the US Secretary of State yesterday afternoon at the State Department, Mr Papandreou noted the following on the Cyprus issue, "I want to say that yes, this is again an important area of cooperation where Kofi Annan, being on the island today, is bringing a great hope of a possible solution after many decades of impasses and aborted attempts. I think that our cooperation has been paramount in moving forward the possibility of a peaceful solution where we will have, if we can do so, two communities, two sides, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, living under one roof in a united island and in a united Europe, where the principles of peace, of democracy, of human rights, of tolerance, and of progress and stability have been achieved over the many decades." "I think this would be a great moment for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. It will be very important for Greek-Turkish relations, and it will be very important for EU-Turkish relations also. So I think that this is a great opportunity to make it [Cyprus] a showcase of multiculturalism, a showcase where Muslims and Christians, Turks and Greeks can live peacefully together side by side", the Greek Minister added. On his part, Secretary Powell stressed that Washington saw an extraordinary opportunity to resolve the longstanding Cyprus conflict, adding, "Secretary-General Kofi Annan is there as we speak, working with the sides, trying to reach an historic settlement in the coming days, and we firmly support his efforts. We share the European Union's hope that Cyprus can enter the union as a united country." Asked by journalists to outline what he had discussed with Mr Annan their telephone conversation yesterday evening, Mr Powell said that the Secretary- General gave him a briefing on his discussions on the island. He added that he expressed Washington's support for Mr Annan's efforts and said that he would be in touch with him again very soon "to see what we might do in this period [until the possible 10 March meeting at The Hague] to encourage both sides to be willing to yield somewhat in their positions in order to achieve an agreement." A solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr Powell said, "has been long coming and is very badly, badly needed." The Greek Foreign Minister had another meeting earlier yesterday with the US President's National Security Adviser, Ms Condoleeza Rice. Speaking to the press after that meeting, which took place at the White House, Mr Papandreou stated, with regard to the Cyprus issue, "I would say there is a positive momentum on Cyprus. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is there right now, he is working hard to find a solution after many years of aborted attempts and we fully support him. I am very glad to say that the U.S. and Ms Rice have given full support also for his efforts." Mr Papandreou's visit to the US capital was held within the framework of the usual six-month EU-US ministerial meeting. The Greek Minister was accompanied by Mr Chris Patten, EU Commissioner for External Affairs, and Mr Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

    [04] Schwimmer: "Cypriots must not miss their date with history"

    The Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Mr Walter Schwimmer, said, in statements on Cyprus from Strasburg yesterday, that "Cypriots must not miss their date with history", and expressed his confidence that the UN Secretary-General, during his visit to the island, would achieve a breakthrough in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem on the basis of his revised plan. "International disappointment would be considerable, if this effort fails", Mr Schwimmer noted, adding that "achieving pace in Cyprus, after three decades of conflict, would be a powerful example for the whole neighbouring region of the Middle East." He added that the Council of Europe was preparing to support the implementation of the proposed settlement, and, in particular, to back the work of the foreseen Reconciliation Commission. He further noted that on 1 April 2003, a Seminar on Youth and Conflict Prevention would bring together, among others, Greek and Turkish Cypriot youth representatives at the CoE in Strasburg.

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


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