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

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]Monday, 03 March 2003 New members of Council of Ministers appointed
  • [02] Investiture of new Cyprus President before Parliament
  • [03] President Papadopoulos: a negative reply at Hague meeting cannot endanger EU course
  • [04] UN Chief: referenda on 30 March play key role for reunification
  • [05] State Department releases statement of support to UN peace efforts in Cyprus
  • [06] New Foreign Minister holds talks with US envoy

    [01] New members of Council of Ministers appointed

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, announced on Saturday morning the composition of the new Council of Ministers, which is as follows (the Ministries are presented in alphabetical order): Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment - Mr Efthymios Efthymiou Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism - Mr Yiorgos Lillikas Minister of Communications and Works - Mr Kyriakos Kazamias Minister of Defence - Mr Kyriakos Mavronicolas Minister of Education and Culture - Mr Pefkios Georgiades Minister of Finance - Mr Markos Kyprianou Minister of Foreign Affairs - Mr Georgios Iacovou Minister of Health - Ms Costandia Akkelidou Minister of Interior - Mr Andreas Christou Minister of Justice and Public Order - Mr Doros Theodorou Minister of Labour and Social Insurance - Mr Iacovos N. Keravnos President Papadopoulos appointed Mr Kypros Chrysostomides to the post of Government Spokesman and Mr Christodoulos Pasiardis to the post of Under Secretary to the President. Mr Polakis Sarris was appointed to the post of Presidential Commissioner, while Mr Marios Karoyian assumed the duty of Press Spokesman for the President. The members of the new cabinet gave the prescribed affirmation, before the President, during a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Saturday morning, which was followed by a first informal meeting of the Council of Ministers chaired by President Papadopoulos. Addressing his eleven-member cabinet, Mr Papadopoulos stressed the need for collective work and close cooperation among them in order to implement the election manifesto. He added that they would be judged by their achievements and not by matters of protocol. "I expect from each one of you to present to me your programme of work, your priorities, your vision and new ideas so that we can discuss them at cabinet meetings", the President said. The Council of Ministers is the highest executive body of the Republic, and the President exercises his executive authority through the Council.

    [02] Investiture of new Cyprus President before Parliament

    The new President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, was invested last Friday during a special ceremony at the House of Representatives, in the presence of the House President, Mr Demetris Christofias and the outgoing President, Mr Glafcos Clerides. Giving his affirmation, Mr Papadopoulos pledged "faith to, and respect for, the Constitution and the laws made thereunder, and the preservation of the independence and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus." Speaking before the 56- member Parliament after his affirmation, Mr Papadopoulos said, inter alia, "We first and foremost, the members of the Greek Cypriot community, are anxious to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem. We most of all care about a quick solution because it is we who as victims of a continuing invasion and occupation want the immediate cessation of the tragedy of our country, the reunification of our land and our people, the consolidation of security, the safeguard of human rights and the building of a hopeful future for all the lawful inhabitants of our country, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins." He added that non- solution was not a solution, but on the contrary, it would signify the beginning of new problems for Cyprus. President Papadopoulos expressed the view that the final solution of the Cyprus issue would be a compromise, "but that compromise cannot be such that it will be against the functionality of the solution". He further warned that "our being conciliatory should not be misinterpreted by the other side and the mediators as a sign of weakness." He said that he was aware of the heavy responsibilities he was undertaking at a crucial time for Cyprus, and called upon all the political forces on the island to cooperate for the attainment of a just, viable and functional solution of the national problem. He pledged to "work and strive" for such a solution. During his speech, Mr Papadopoulos also reiterated his pre-election commitments regarding his home administration policy. He stressed that good governance, transparency, meritocracy and the combat against favouritism, equal opportunities between men and women, and a people-oriented economic policy, were among the top priorities of the new government. Opening the investiture ceremony, the House President, Mr Christofias, assured the new President that all parliamentary political parties would stand by him, so that there could be "unity in the internal front and a collective spirit in the handling of the Cyprus problem." After the investiture ceremony at the House of Representatives, Mr Papadopoulos went to the Presidential Palace, where he was handed over the presidency by outgoing President Mr Clerides.

    [03] President Papadopoulos: a negative reply at Hague meeting cannot endanger EU course

    Following the announcement of the composition of the Council of Ministers last Saturday morning, the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, said that he hoped the first regular meeting of the Council of Ministers would take place this coming Friday, during which he would ask the Ministers to define their priorities, their programmes and plans to be discussed collectively at the Ministerial Council. Replying to press questions on whether the possibility of a negative answer in The Hague would endanger Cyprus' EU accession course, Mr Papadopoulos, said, "The accession course is predetermined and will take place irrespective of the developments in the Cyprus problem. Besides, all this time, we have been saying that from Helsinki onwards, the solution of the Cyprus problem has been disassociated from the issue of accession. Everybody would prefer, ourselves being the first, a united Cyprus to accede to the EU; however, this is not a precondition for accession." Asked if his position concerning the referenda would be influenced by the position of the Turkish Cypriot leader, he said that the decision of one side did not depend on the decision of the other.

    [04] UN Chief: referenda on 30 March play key role for reunification

    The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, concluded his three-day visit to the island and departed from Cyprus on Friday afternoon. Speaking to reporters at Larnaca Airport before his departure, the Secretary-General made the following statement: "I am very satisfied with the outcome of my mission which I have conducted over the past few days in Ankara, Athens and Nicosia in relation to a Cyprus settlement. In particular I am glad that the two leaders, Mr Papadopoulos and Mr Denktash, have agreed to meet me again in The Hague on 10 March. I have asked the two leaders to arrive at The Hague prepared to tell me, there and then whether or not they would sign a commitment 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 two leaders to arrive in The Hague having completed all necessary internal consultations and processes so that the response on 10 March is definitive. At the end of my visit, I am convinced that all concerned, Greece, Turkey and the two parties on the island, understand that the holding of referenda on 30 March is the key to a reunited Cyprus signing the Treaty of Accession on 16 April. I myself am absolutely certain that a Cyprus settlement which brings about a new state of affairs, would be a great benefit to all the people of Cyprus, as well as to the motherlands, the region and to the world. There is a unique opportunity that must not be missed. I said on arrival, Cyprus has a rendez-vous with destiny. I believe very strongly that a Plan for Settlement that is on offer is fair and balanced. Of course, it is a compromise but all negotiated settlements require compromise. I urge all concerned to catch the tide before it turns, perhaps irreversibly. As I leave this beautiful island, I pray and hope that you will soon have the settlement so long hoped for and so long denied". Mr Annan then replied to journalists' questions as follows: Question: What is the meaning of the meeting in The Hague since Mr Denktash says that he will not put his signature to the plan? Answer: I think I made it very clear in the statement I issued this morning and in my discussions with the leaders, that I want them to come to The Hague to tell me that they are going to put the settlement plan to referendum and that they will let the people decide. I think it is important that the people are given a chance to decide. I have not asked Mr Denktash to sign the agreement. What I want is a commitment from him when we meet, that the issue will be put to referendum on 30 March. Question: And if the answer is no? Answer: If one party or the other says no, there should be no doubt that we are at the end of the road. We put lots of effort in it and I am not sure when this opportunity would come again, if it ever comes again. I think it would be a sad day for the people of this island, for both communities and for the region. We have an opportunity here to reunite this island and get them into the European Union, a development that will improve the Greco- Turkish relationship, Turkish-EU relationship and relationship in the region. Question: What if one party decides to put off the agreement? Answer: No one has this choice. I have stated to them very clearly that if reunited Cyprus is to enter the European Union to sign the Accession Treaty on 16th April, we must have these referenda on the 30th of March. You worked backwards. They don't have the time. I know this process has taken a very long time and we are really at the end of the road. I think we have to be very careful not to think that there is a lot of time and one can continue business as usual. Moreover, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary- General, Mr Fred Eckhard, briefed the press on the outcome of Mr Annan's trip to Cyprus, during last Friday's press briefing at UN Headquarters. Asked, after the briefing, whether the UN would organise the referenda in Cyprus, the UN Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General expected the two sides on the island to organise their referenda, adding that he was not aware of any provision for technical assistance by the UN.

    [05] State Department releases statement of support to UN peace efforts in Cyprus

    The US State Department released last Friday a press statement entitled 'US Support for UN Secretary-General Annan's Efforts on Cyprus". The statement, which was also read out by the State Department Spokesman, Mr Richard Boucher, during Friday's press briefing, was as follows: "The United States has long supported the dedicated efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to find a solution to the longstanding division of Cyprus, a solution which, as demonstrations in northern Nicosia made clear, so many Cypriots fervently desire. For this reason, we are encouraged that the leaders of the two communities on the islands have accepted the Secretary General's invitation to meet with him in The Hague on March 10th. Secretary General Annan asked the leaders today [Friday] to come to their crucial meeting in The Hague prepared to tell him whether or not they will put his revised proposal for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement to referenda in their communities on March 30th. He also asked the leaders to complete all necessary internal consultations and processes beforehand so that their responses are definite. The United States strongly supports the initiative by the Secretary General. We believe that the United Nations revised settlement plan presents a just, viable and durable solution to the division of Cyprus. Putting the plan to referenda is the most democratic and constructive way to determine the future of the people of Cyprus. It is exceptionally important that the extraordinary work of the Secretary- General succeed and that his comprehensive settlement plan be put to the people. We think Cypriots should have a chance to say 'yes' to their future, together, and in Europe. This is an opportunity that may not come again." Following the announcement of the above press statement, reporters asked Mr Boucher whether the Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, was thinking of inviting the leaders of the two communities to a meeting either before or after 10 March, as a way of assisting the sides to reach an agreement. The US Spokesman replied, "The Secretary [Mr Powell] has been involved with the Secretary-General [Mr Annan] on this", adding that the two had talked about that issue last Wednesday. The Secretary of State, Mr Boucher also said, held talks about Cyprus with his Greek and Turkish counterparts as well, along with other officials of the European Union. "I would note that our special Cyprus envoy is in the region and playing a very active role, and I think a helpful one, that's been helping out with the U.N. effort. So, we are very active in that way, as well. And I'm sure the Secretary will continue to be involved", Mr Boucher concluded.

    [06] New Foreign Minister holds talks with US envoy

    The newly-appointed Foreign Minister, Mr George Iacovou, had a meeting on Saturday afternoon with the US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Mr Thomas Weston. The meeting was attended by the US Ambassador in Cyprus, Mr Michael Klosson and other officials from both sides. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Iacovou, said that Mr Weston expressed the US interest in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and that some preliminary views were exchanged between them. Mr Weston also expressed the hope that the Annan Solution Plan would finally be put to a referendum, he added. Replying to a question on the issue of the referendum, the Foreign Minister said that Mr Weston had admitted that there was a polyphony in Ankara at present which should of course, become monophony for things to progress. Earlier in the day, the US envoy met with the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos. No statement was made after the meeting. On Friday, Mr Weston had a meeting with the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Christofias, and with departing Foreign Minister, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides.

    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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