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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 03-11-28

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 November 2003 President Papadopoulos returns from Athens visit
  • [02] Cyprus strongly protests to UN against persecution of Turkish Cypriot journalists
  • [03] Cyprus' new Ambassador to The Netherlands presents credentials

    [01] President Papadopoulos returns from Athens visit

    The President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, returned yesterday to Cyprus after a three-day official visit to Athens, which he described as "fruitful and useful". Speaking to the press upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport, President Papadopoulos noted that he was "completely satisfied" with his contacts in the Greek capital. Replying to questions, Mr Papadopoulos reiterated the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to resume peace talks on the basis of the Annan Plan whenever called for by the UN Secretary-General and added that the Government was pursuing the accession of a reunited Cyprus to the European Union, on 1 May 2004, so as to avoid "serious practical problems" from arising. However, he noted that none of those problems would be insurmountable. Furthermore, speaking at a press conference in Athens at the end of his visit, President Papadopoulos stressed that the Cyprus Republic and the Greek Cypriot community pursued a solution of the Cyprus problem only through bicommunal talks on the basis of the Annan Plan. He also pointed out that right after the so-called elections in the Turkish-occupied areas, on 14 December 2003, the Greek Cypriot side would ask the UN Secretary- General to take on a new initiative for resuming the peace talks. Mr Papadopoulos added that that would happen regardless of the outcome of the "elections". Invited to say whether he had any assurances by the Secretary- General that he was willing to put his plan to further talks, Mr Papadopoulos noted that Mr Annan expected both sides to say they accepted his plan as a basis for negotiation. "Our position has been from the outset that the Annan Plan needed changes to become functional. I must also stress that there is the decision of the UN, taken in April, which states that all the observations and remarks of the Greek Cypriot side, submitted in writing to the Secretary-General on 28 February, fell within the parameters of his Plan", he added. The President pointed out that a functional solution of the Cyprus problem would be in the interest of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and said that discussions in good faith with the other side could yield the proper arrangements that would constitute a possible solution functional. Mr Papadopoulos further expressed certainty that no solution on the basis of the Annan Plan was possible with Mr Rauf Denktash remaining as the interlocutor of the Turkish Cypriot community, and said the possibility of the opposition parties winning the "elections" provided, at least, the prospect for resuming peace talks. He also said that the Greek Cypriot side had realised the difficulty of achieving an ideal and just solution of the Cyprus issue, and that was why it insisted that a possible solution would have to be at least functional, because Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could not endure a new clash in Cyprus. Referring to the possible repercussions from Cyprus' accession to the European Union without a prior solution, Mr Papadopoulos noted, "Our effort is to find practical solutions so that the dividing line which exists today will not become a European border, preventing the movement of people, ideas, and goods", and added that in the last three months, an effort was being made towards that direction with positive results. As regards Turkey's EU membership bid, the President said that Cyprus supported Turkey's EU accession course, provided that Ankara complied with the Copenhagen criteria and behaved like a European state. "It is inconceivable for a European state to have forces in an EU member state", he stressed. President Papadopoulos added that he fully agreed with the statement by EU Enlargement Commissioner Mr Gunter Verheugen, who said the EU was sympathetic to Turkey's blow following the terrorist attacks in Istanbul but stressed that "no discounts can be made to European principles" as far as setting a date for beginning accession talks with Ankara. On the Titina Loizidou case, he said the efforts of the Committee of Ministers to come to a compromise agreement, which involved securing the payment by Turkey without restoring the right of Ms Loizidou to use her property in the occupied areas until 2005, were "unacceptable". Mr Papadopoulos emphasised that the Cyprus Government was not willing to get involved in any procedure to negotiate the Court's ruling, but was only interested in observing how the Committee of Ministers would supervise the implementation of the decision. He further expressed hope that the decision would not be disobeyed for the sake of political expediency. On the issue of the Euro- elections of next June, the President said the Republic of Cyprus was obliged to grant Turkish Cypriots equal rights for taking part in the voting process. He also said that Cyprus was entitled to six seats in the European Parliament and it would fill them all, noting the example of Germany which constituted a legal precedent.

    [02] Cyprus strongly protests to UN against persecution of Turkish Cypriot journalists

    The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis has strongly protested to the United Nations against the persecution of the press in the Turkish occupied areas, citing information which shows the Turkish army's involvement in the daily lives of Turkish Cypriots and its efforts to curb the will of the Turkish Cypriot community. In his letter to the UN Secretary General, Mr Mavroyiannis stressed that he had repeatedly raised the whole issue of the persecution of the press with the UN in writing, and in particular the attacks against "Africa" newspaper and its journalists, stressing that the one and only crime of those who were persecuted by the Turkish army and the occupying regime was their courage to challenge with their pens the policies of Ankara and Mr Denktash on the Cyprus problem. The Ambassador underlined that Turkey and the illegal regime, instead of listening to the increasing appeals of Turkish Cypriots for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem and for reunification, had escalated their policy of intimidation and harassment against the Turkish Cypriot press. He also pointed out that the acts of persecution of the press had recently increased in the light of the massive demonstrations by the Turkish Cypriots demanding a change in the anachronistic policy of Turkey in Cyprus, and due to the increasing number of editorials and articles criticising Turkey and Denktash for their irrational and divisive policies in relation to the Cyprus problem and the EU accession. Concluding, the Cyprus Ambassador called on the UN Secretary-General "as the leader of an Organisation that places protection of human rights at the centre of its agenda, to impress upon the Turkish government the need to terminate the persecution of the press and respect the fundamental right of freedom of speech of the Turkish Cypriot community".

    [03] Cyprus' new Ambassador to The Netherlands presents credentials

    Mrs Ioanna Mallioti presented yesterday in The Hague, her credentials to Queen Beatrice as Cyprus' new Ambassador to The Netherlands. After the official ceremony at Noordeinde royal palace, the new Cyprus Ambassador had a meeting with Queen Beatrice whom she briefed on the Cyprus problem, the forthcoming accession of Cyprus to the EU and on the harmonisation course with the Acquis Communautaire. The Queen showed great interest in the Cyprus problem and asked to be briefed on the latest developments. She also expressed the wish for a speedy solution of the political problem.

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


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