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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-03-05

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]Wednesday, 05 March 2003 President Papadopoulos hopes that some changes on UN plan still possible
  • [02] Annan expresses optimism about outcome of Hague meeting
  • [03] Verheugen: With or without settlement Cyprus will join EU in May 2004
  • [04] Baroness Symons talks about British offer to cede part of SBAs in case of settlement

    [01] President Papadopoulos hopes that some changes on UN plan still possible

    The President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, expressed the hope that there was still room for some changes on the second revised Annan plan, which had been raised by the Greek Cypriot side at the negotiating table. Speaking yesterday after a meeting with the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto, the Cyprus President and interlocutor of the Greek Cypriot side said that he and Mr De Soto had discussed various aspects of the new revised plan and that they would meet again today at 4:00 p.m. At the meeting, President Papadopoulos was accompanied by the members of the Greek Cypriot negotiating team at the UN- led peace talks.

    [02] Annan expresses optimism about outcome of Hague meeting

    The UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, voiced optimism yesterday that a solution of the Cyprus problem was still within reach, and urged the leaders of the two communities on the island "not to be close-minded, to undertake very serious and constructive consultations with their own people, with the two motherlands, and come to The Hague in a constructive mood." Less than a week before his meeting with President Papadopoulos and Mr Rauf Denktash, on 10 March at The Hague, the UN Chief noted, "I think this is a unique opportunity for the people of the island, and all that we are asking the leaders to do is to come to The Hague and to confirm to us that they are prepared to put the basic agreement to referenda and to let the people decide. And I hope that when we meet in The Hague, they will come prepared, as I have suggested to them, that they undertake all the internal consultations in the meantime and come ready to give me a definite answer." Mr Annan, who was speaking yesterday to the press after his closed-door briefing to the UN Security Council on his trip to Cyprus and the region last week, expressed hope that the two leaders would go to The Hague with a positive answer. Asked about the possibility of a negative response to his request for separate simultaneous referenda on 30 March, Mr Annan replied, "then of course we cannot move forward", adding that it would also mean that "a united Cyprus will not be able to accede to the European Union on the 16th of April." "The deadlines we have set are real and genuine - it is not artificialů If they do not have the referendum on 30th of March, I don't see how they can get into the EU jointly on the 16th", he stressed, warning at the same time that "if they were to turn it [request for referenda] down, we will have to draw the consequences." Mr Annan told reporters that the Security Council was very supportive of his initiatives in Cyprus. He also said that he brought them up-to-date on his discussions on the island and the prospects for the Hague meeting, also outlining some points in his second revised plan, namely, "that we now have a name, a new Cyprus Republic, which will be a federation made up of two constituent states, the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State - and also the fact that we have made some suggestions for the security arrangements between the Greeks and Turkey." He reiterated his view that if the current opportunity for finding a settlement was missed, it would be uncertain when another one would come around again, if ever. He also emphasised that the Cyprus problem was solvable, "but what is required is political will and determination to make it happen and I know that the leaders can summon the wisdom and the courage to let it happen." "The people would want to see a settlement; the people would want to see a united Cyprus enter the European Union and I hope the leaders will give them a chance to speak up and not deprive them of a voice," Mr Annan added. The UN Secretary-General had asked the two leaders, during his visit to Cyprus last week, to meet with him in The Hague on 10 March, with a view to telling him 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. Moreover, the British Permanent Representative to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, made the following statement to the press yesterday immediately after the Security Council was briefed by the Secretary-General on Cyprus: "The Secretary General has just briefed the Security Council on the fate of his mission on Cyprus and brought it up to date on where he's got to, which is very important for the Council. This is a topic on which an enormous amount of effort has been spent for a very good cause of trying at last end this very old dispute. His negotiation of the settlement process has been extremely skilful. The Council is recognizing that. The United Kingdom fully supports his efforts to bring together the two leaderships in The Hague on 10 March to get them to agree to putting the Annan III proposal, as that called, to referenda on the island on the 31st of March. That is an extremely important juncture because it is now time for the people of Cyprus to have their say. The members of the council that have spoken so far have very warmly supported the Secretary General's efforts. I am sure that is going to be a unanimous view. He is putting an enormous amount of hard work and it is now time for the two leaderships and the UK puts out this call to both of them, to agree to put these proposals to referenda at the end of March, so that the people of Cyprus can express their view on what is an extremely important issue for their long term future. So the UK is fully behind these proposals." Invited to say whether the Secretary-General's mandate on Cyprus would end in case that one of the parties replied negatively at The Hague, the British UN Representative noted, "That's for the Secretary General to say, but he has clearly indicated that this current phase, which is a unique opportunity will come to an end. When he uses the words unique opportunity I think he means such an opportunity will not come back again, so this is a crunch point for the peoples of Cyprus."

    [03] Verheugen: With or without settlement Cyprus will join EU in May 2004

    The EU Enlargement Commissioner, Mr Gunter Verheugen, stressed that "with or without a settlement, Cyprus is expected to accede to the EU by 1 May 2004". Speaking on the issue of EU Enlargement before UK Parliamentarians yesterday in London, Commissioner Verheugen noted, with regard to Cyprus' EU accession course, that the efforts to reach an agreement on the reunification of the island would continue right up to the signing of the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003 in Athens, adding, "Our preference is clear. We hope that it will be a united Cyprus that we will welcome as member. We therefore strongly support the UN led efforts to reach a solution. We have reiterated at several occasions the EU's willingness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in the Treaty of Accession in line with the principals on which the European Union is founded." "The UN proposal on the table would benefit all Cypriots. It would also bring peace and stability to Cyprus and the whole region. The parties should therefore seize this unique opportunity. It will not come back. It is not only about peace and stability. No settlement would lead to continued economic decline and isolation for the northern part. We can also expect that the affluent Turkish Cypriots will leave the island. The massive demonstrations we have seen over the last weeks show the concern in the Turkish Cypriot community", he said. On Turkey, the Commissioner expressed the view that if no solution was found by the time Cyprus joined the Union, the EU would face a situation where a candidate country would not recognise one of the EU member states, adding that "it is difficult to see how it would be possible to start accession negotiations [with Turkey] under such circumstances." He said that he had made that point very clear at his recent visit to that country, and called upon Turkey to "reflect over the consequences of a non- settlement for its EU-aspirations." "For our part we are prepared to give a substantial support to the northern part of the island once an agreement has been reached. I have also taken initiative to a donors conference immediately after a settlement. The conference would raise funds for meeting costs relating to in particular the resettling of Turk-Cypriots on the island as well as resettling of Turkish settlers in Turkey", Mr Verheugen also said. If no solution was found prior to Cyprus' accession to the EU, the Commissioner explained that in that case, "the Treaty will include provisions making it clear that the EU legislation does not extend to the northern part but with an enabling clause making an extension possible in the event of a settlement in the future."

    [04] Baroness Symons talks about British offer to cede part of SBAs in case of settlement

    The British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, made reference, yesterday before the House of Lords, to Britain's offer to cede part of its Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus in the case of a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the second revised Annan plan. Answering a question posed by Lord Hughes of Woodside on the British government's action in securing a settlement in Cyprus, the Baroness said that "the UK has supported the UN throughout this process and has welcomed the balanced and comprehensive settlement proposals tabled by the Secretary-General". She further said that the British offer was made in an attempt to help bridge the gap between the two Cyprus sides' demands on territorial readjustments, which was a key issue for both sides at the negotiating table. "The offer consists of 45 square miles - just under half of the total area of the SBAs. This makes up 1.2 per cent of the area of the new state of affairs in Cyprus. The areas involved would bring a number of Cypriots living near Limassol, and in the Dhekelia sovereign base area, within the administration of their respective constituent state. It will also open up areas of coastline for possible development. The areas involved do not contain military infrastructure, and this offer will not have an adverse impact on the functioning of the SBAs. The offer would only become valid if there were agreement by both sides to the UN's proposals. And, of course, legislation would be introduced to bring the transfer of territory into operation. In the event that either side in Cyprus rejects the proposals, or the proposals are rejected in a referendum by either side, the offer, along with the rest of the UN proposals, will become null and void", Baroness Symons said. In concluding her response, she said that the British government urged both sides "not to let this historic opportunity to heal the division of Cyprus slip away, and to go the last mile to conclude negotiations and secure the settlement."

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


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