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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 04-01-29

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]Thursday, 29 January 2004 President Papadopoulos reiterates readiness for new round of talks
  • [02] UN Chief says agreement by end of March is necessary to meet 1 May deadline
  • [03] PACE calls on Cyprus parties to resume peace talks without delay
  • [04] Cyprus issue discussed at the meeting between Bush and Erdogan
  • [05] Schwimmer: We need courage for Cyprus settlement
  • [06] Russian Foreign Ministry issues statement on Cyprus

    [01] President Papadopoulos reiterates readiness for new round of talks

    "The Greek Cypriot side and myself are ready to respond positively to any invitation of the Secretary-General to a new round of talks, on the basis of his plan with the aim of achieving a more functional and just solution which, as a result will be durable and viable and will enable Cyprus to play its full role in the European Union after its formal accession on the 1st of May 2004", the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, stressed during his address before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, yesterday in Strasbourg. President Papadopoulos referred to the recent statements by Turkish officials that Ankara was ready for new moves on Cyprus, expressing the hope that those reports reflected the Turkish side's real aims and were not merely a 'public relations' campaign. "Unfortunately, the initial picture has been confused by other contradictory and confusing statements, which retract or conflict with previous statements", the President said, noting that "it would be unwise to rush into assessments and conclusions before we are formally and reliably informed of the true state of affairs." "Ever since the collapse of the talks in The Hague in March 2003, as a result of the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Turkish Cypriot side, we have been advocating the resumption of the United Nations process, at the earliest possible point in time, with the aim of reaching a solution before the 1st of May 2004, so that a reunited Cyprus could join the European Union. However, the longstanding negative stance of the Turkish side thwarted all of our efforts", President Papadopoulos added. He then reiterated his readiness to proceed immediately with meaningful and substantive negotiations on the basis of and within the parameters of the Annan plan and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in order to reach a functional and thus viable solution of the Cyprus problem by 1 May 2004, and expressed the hope that the Turkish side would also genuinely demonstrate the required political will to that end and within the aforementioned parameters. Mr Papadopoulos will be in Brussels today where he will meet, this afternoon, the UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan for talks on the Cyprus issue.

    [02] UN Chief says agreement by end of March is necessary to meet 1 May deadline

    The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has noted that a solution of the Cyprus problem based on his plan must be reached by the end of March, in order to have enough time to hold simultaneous referenda in April to meet the deadline of 1 May 2004, when Cyprus would officially join the European Union. Speaking yesterday at a joint news conference with EU Commission President Mr Romano Prodi in Brussels, the UN Chief, who will meet President Tassos Papadopoulos in the Belgian capital today, said he would decide when peace talks should be resumed when he had gathered all the necessary information and after talks with the Greek side and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. "The conditions are clear and I think the parties must be prepared to show willingness to solve these problems so that they can go forward, because if we begin, everyone must understand that we must do our utmost to complete the process by 1st May", Mr Annan pointed out. He explained that his good offices were available provided that the parties would demonstrate the will and the determination to find a solution and noted, "If indeed we are going to try and settle this issue early enough for the expansion on the 1st of May, then if you work backwards we don't have much time". "The plan on the table does envisage that the parties may have the possibility of negotiating changes in the plan, and it also indicated that where they were not able to agree, they may give me the authority to fill in the gaps", he added. Referring to his recent meeting with Turkish Premier Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Davos, Mr Annan said it had been "very encouraging" and added, "He told me that his country is prepared to resume negotiations and I think that is a good decision. He made some proposals to me and I am currently studying them very seriously". In his remarks to the press, the Commission President Mr Romano Prodi said he had thanked the UN Secretary-General for his peace efforts in Cyprus and noted that the EU was convinced that a window of opportunity still existed for a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan before the accession date. "The Commission can provide technical assistance to the UN on issues relating to European law. We are ready to accommodate the terms of a settlement on the basis of the SG's plan. We are also ready to organise an international donor's conference to mobilize financial support for needs arising for a settlement", Mr Prodi added. He also recalled his recent discussions with Mr Erdogan in Ankara, during which he had insisted that "the Union wants to see an agreement before the 1st of May so that a united Cyprus can join the EU". Moreover, in statements to the press after his meeting yesterday with the Irish Foreign Minister and Acting EU President Mr Brian Cowen, the UN Secretary-General said he would want the European Union "to encourage all the parties concerned to really garner the will, the political will, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible". "Even if the parties were to negotiate changes to it, all this will have to be done by end of March for them to be able to have the simultaneous referenda in April to meet the 1st of May deadline. If that deadline is not met I think that part of the question I will defer to the Minister [Mr Cowen] and the EU", Mr Annan stressed. On his part, the Irish Foreign Minister pledged that the Irish Presidency of the EU would do everything possible to assist the peace efforts and expressed the hope that the negotiations could be resumed "with the necessary political will and determination and obligation to succeed upon resumption". "The European Union Presidency believes that we wish to see the responsibility that's on us all to successfully conclude these negotiations before enlargement if at all possible. That would be the best solution for everybody. It would be the best solution for all Cypriots, in our view, and we hope and wish well the initiative that is beginning to emerge and we hope it will bring about the successful conclusion we all hope to see", Mr Cowen added.

    [03] PACE calls on Cyprus parties to resume peace talks without delay

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus ''to resume negotiations without delay on the basis of the Annan plan, in good faith, with a view to reaching a political settlement of the Cyprus problem by 1 May 2004". In a resolution, adopted unanimously yesterday, PACE deplored the failure, in March 2003, of negotiations for a Cyprus settlement on the basis of the plan presented by the UN Secretary-General, "when Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktash rejected the plan while the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Tassos Papadopoulos appeared willing to sign it". "It is for the leaders of the two communities to overcome the pattern of confrontation based on past fears and on efforts to secure unilateral advantages and to turn to the future of their communities, which share the same island and will hopefully have a common future within the European Union", the resolution underlined. The rapporteur, Mr Matyas Eorsi (Hungary, LDR), hoped that "the political leaders of the two Cypriot communities be fully aware of their responsibilities to their people and act in the interests of their future. They must make new and substantial efforts to reach a compromise acceptable to both sides.'' The Assembly also called on Greece and Turkey to contribute to the resumption of the negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan and on Turkey, in particular, "to show good will for restoring confidence with the Republic of Cyprus by withdrawing, prior to reaching a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue, a considerable number of its troops deployed in the northern part of Cyprus". Furthermore, it called on the European Union "to reconsider how it could encourage Turkey's positive involvement in the search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem by giving the Turkish authorities clearer guarantees for the opening of accession negotiations, once the appropriate criteria are fulfilled and this is confirmed by the European Union". PACE encouraged the UN Secretary-General "to resume his efforts as soon as an opportunity arises and urges him to pay special attention to security issues on the island, which are the main source of mutual mistrust, and to embark on negotiations with the flexibility required for the purpose". In a recommendation, also adopted unanimously, PACE welcomed the initiatives of the UN Secretary-General and the activities of the Council of Europe aimed at contributing to the reconciliation of the Cypriot communities and at facilitating, in the framework of the efforts of the international community, a fair and durable resolution to the Cyprus problem, in the respect of the principles and values of the Council of Europe. It also recommended to the Committee of Ministers to envisage a more active contribution on behalf of the Council of Europe to the search for a settlement in Cyprus. The full texts of the Resolution and Recommendation on Cyprus can be found .

    [04] Cyprus issue discussed at the meeting between Bush and Erdogan

    The United States President, Mr George W. Bush, and Turkey's Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had a meeting yesterday at the Oval Office, in Washington D.C. After their talks both Mr Bush and Mr Erdogan made statements to the press referring, inter alia, to the Cyprus issue. The US President said Mr Erdogan had briefed him on the Cyprus talks and added: "I appreciated his trying to find a solution --a solution to a long-standing dispute." For his part, the Turkish Prime Minister said: "We spoke of the fact that we support the goodwill mission of the Secretary General of the United Nations, and we are willing to restart the negotiations, taking Annan's plan as a reference point. I state once again that the Turkish side is determined for a solution, we will always be a step ahead of our Greek counterparts and we're determined to solve this as soon as possible." In another statement at the media stakeout following a working lunch, the Turkish Prime Minister stated, inter alia, the following: "We have determined that we support the goodwill mission of the secretary- general of the United Nations. And by taking his plan, the Annan plan, as a reference point, we will continue in our efforts to restart negotiations. And we have declared that Turkey and the Turkish Party will always be a step ahead of their Greek and Greek Cypriot counterparts for a settlement." Moreover, the White House Spokesman Mr Scott McClellan, asked during yesterday's briefing how important it was for US President George Bush to reach a solution before May 1st, said that the "US is committed to helping in the efforts to find a solution on the issue of Cyprus". He added that last Saturday in Davos, the Turkish Prime Minister "demonstrated a strong willingness to advance a Cyprus agreement on the basis of the Secretary- General's fair and balanced plan,'' and concluded: "We urge our Greek Cypriot friends to agree to finalize a settlement and allow the Secretary General to resolve outstanding issues, if necessary, and submit a settlement to referenda by a date certain. Because we believe such a settlement will bring greater stability and prosperity to all people on Cyprus and in Turkey as they move toward deeper integration into Europe."

    [05] Schwimmer: We need courage for Cyprus settlement

    In the framework of his visit to Strasbourg and his speech before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the President of the Republic Mr Tassos Papadopoulos had separate meetings with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr Walter Schwimmer, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly Mr Peter Schieder and other officials. After his meeting with Mr Schwimmer, President Papadopoulos said "it has always been our basic aim to find a solution, which will reunify the Republic of Cyprus so that a reunified Cyprus will enter the EU by 1st of May". Asked what he expected from his visit he replied "I had the opportunity of talking with the Secretary-General and with the President of the Assembly on the prospects of recent developments and I think this exchange of views is always very, very helpful and very interesting." The Council of Europe's Secretary General said that Turkey would play "a decisive role" in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and expressed hope that the Turkish side would make courageous steps. Replying to questions, Mr Schwimmer said "the window of opportunity in my view is still open until the time of accession of Cyprus to the EU for the sake of all the citizens of Cyprus. I hope a united Cyprus will enter the EU and a united Cyprus and all citizens of Cyprus will also enjoy the rights, the opportunities of citizens of a member country of the Council of Europe enjoying all the rights under Council of Europe Conventions, Human Rights protection mechanisms." "I think the advantages are there. The advantages have only to be seen and let's go ahead and I will from my side, try to facilitate. I will invite again the leaders of political parties of both communities of the Republic of Cyprus and I hope that will help to encourage all to take the right steps," he added. Replying to another question as to whether he saw any courageous steps from the Turkish side Mr Schwimmer, said: "I see the readiness for courageous steps. Of course we cannot take a solution for granted, we have to work for it. We need courage for a solution, but at the end I think there is no alternative."

    [06] Russian Foreign Ministry issues statement on Cyprus

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has issued a press statement on Cyprus, last Tuesday, in which it points out that the latest developments regarding the Cyprus issue allow the Russian Foreign Ministry to say that "a more favourable atmosphere for the renewal in the nearest future of the negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem is being created". The full statement is as follows: "The latest developments around Cyprus allow to say that a more favourable atmosphere for the renewal in the nearest future of the negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem is being created. The readiness reaffirmed by the leadership of the Republic of Cyprus to continue the negotiating process as well as the results of the recent meeting between Prime Minister of Turkey Mr R. T. Erdogan and UN Secretary General Mr K. Annan in Davos, where the Turkish leader has expressed positive mood of Ankara with regard to the negotiations on Cyprus, are in particular an evidence in favour of that. It would be important to support and develop this favourable dynamic. We believe that considerations suggested earlier by Mr K. Annan on the comprehensive settlement maintain their positive potential and will serve as the basis for the continuation of direct talks between the Cyprus Sides under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General. Russia is ready for further cooperation with her partners in the UN Security Council and other parties concerned supporting the UN Secretary General's mission of 'good offices' with an aim of achieving a just, viable and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions".

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


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