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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 04-01-30

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, 30 January 2004 President Papadopoulos appeals to Kofi Annan to call for Cyprus talks immediately
  • [02] Powell pledges to assist Cyprus parties reach a settlement
  • [03] Talks will have to be based on the Annan Plan, says UN Chief

    [01] President Papadopoulos appeals to Kofi Annan to call for Cyprus talks immediately

    The President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, appealed to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, to call for new talks for a settlement of the Cyprus problem immediately and reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's readiness to engage in such talks the soonest possible. Speaking after a meeting with the UN Chief yesterday in Brussels, President Papadopoulos made the following statement: "We had a very good meeting with the Secretary-General and I want to tell you that we appealed to the Secretary- General that he may immediately call the talks. I repeated that we are ready to take part in these talks for reaching a comprehensive, self- executive agreement the soonest possible. We also think, this is our view, that it's about time we start substantive talks, leave aside the efforts to have public relations benefits. We lost quite a considerable time, time to wait for developments in the Turkish Cypriot side. And time is really short, so we must aim our talks which are result-oriented and not repeat the previous exercises, where no progress was made and no serious negotiating process was taken place. I repeat once more our readiness to engage in such time the talks and our willingness to show all necessary good will and, if possible, to be able to reach an agreement before May 1st. I repeat once more, that our main aim is to see a reunited Cyprus joining the EU by May 1st". Invited to comment on the Turkish suggestion to appoint US Secretary of State Colin Powell as a mediator in the talks, President Papadopoulos said it was better to leave the issue to be decided by the UN Secretary- General, noting that Mr Kofi Annan "gave us his initial reaction to that and I think it's really a side issue". "The main issue is not to waste any more time; To start immediately the talks, hopefully to complete them in time so the reunited Cyprus joins the EU", he added. Asked to say if the Secretary-General had given any hint as to when the talks would resume, Mr Papadopoulos noted, "No. The Secretary- General didn't touch upon the subject. He repeated his conditions, we gave him our ideas as to how he can overcome whatever reservations there might be, which he will consider". As to whether he accepted all the conditions set forward by the UN Secretary-General, the President said, "We never refused to have a referendum when talks commence and we see that they progress well and both sides show a spirit necessary, and as I said, we gave some ideas to the Secretary-General as to how he might consider that we meet his conditions." Asked if he was given the impression that new talks might be eminent, he said he could not talk about impressions as "that is something that the Secretary-General decides". "Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that the Secretary-General is going either to call immediately the talks or whether he will be satisfied with the ideas we gave him", President Papadopoulos noted replying to another question. In other statements to the press, the President said that his plea to Mr Kofi Annan was that "after all these efforts from the UN and others involved, I think we deserve another chance from the Secretary-General".

    [02] Powell pledges to assist Cyprus parties reach a settlement

    "We stand ready to use our good offices to help all the parties move forward, but it is the Secretary-General's plan that we believe is the operative plan and the manner in which we move forward", US Secretary of State Mr Colin Powell has noted. Speaking yesterday after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Gull in Washington, Mr Powell pledged that the United States would make every effort to assist the work towards a settlement and added that he would get personally involved "as necessary to work with the Secretary-General and the parties to see if we can solve this long-standing and most difficult problem". At the same time, he pointed out that the United States would not be a mediator in the negotiations. "There's still much more work to be done, but there is a moment of opportunity here that we hope to seize and have referendums and resolve outstanding issues and, hopefully, get it all done by the 1st of May", Mr Powell added. Asked if Washington was putting any pressure on the Greek side following the latest public statements by Turkish officials regarding the Cyprus peace process, he noted, "I think it's time for all of us to put pressure on all sides to get a resolution to this difficult situation; it's gone on for so long. And I think we're getting close to a solution. So, to the extend that we can assist the Secretary-General in his efforts, and assist all the sides in coming together on the basis of the Secretary-General's plan, then we will do so". On his part, the Turkish Foreign Minister said, replying to a question, that Ankara regarded the Annan plan as a reference point. "We will work on it and the negotiations will start, and the Annan plan will be the reference", Mr Gul added.

    [03] Talks will have to be based on the Annan Plan, says UN Chief

    The UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has made clear that any new talks for a settlement of the Cyprus problem would have to be based on his peace plan. He further said that if negotiations were to begin soon, he would prefer having a mediator who knew the issues at hand, like Peruvian diplomat Alvaro de Soto. Speaking yesterday in Brussels during a press conference at the European Parliament and invited to comment on information that Turkey had asked for the appointment of US Secretary of State Colin Powell as mediator in the talks, Mr Annan said: "I believe my good friend Secretary of State Colin Powell already has a job, he has his hands full. But, let me say that I have been engaged with the Cyprus process for quite a while. I've had a very good negotiator who most people know, Mr Alvaro de Soto, who knows these issues inside out. In the process we were helped by representatives of several friendly countries and I think if we were to resume the process, because of the time factor, I would want to have somebody in charge who knows the issues. We will accept assesses from governments of good will and who have influence and capacity to help us, and try to get these negotiations conducted as soon as possible. But that will only be possible if the parties show the will and the determination to engage seriously in a sustained manner and in the very short time that we would have". Asked to say what had been proposed to him by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and whether he could envisage talks resuming on the basis of a document other than his plan, the UN Chief noted: "The parties in the discussion that we've had in the past know that if we are going to proceed and we are going to become engaged, it has to be on the basis of the plan. I had very good discussions with Prime Minister Erdogan. We did not exchange documents if that is what you have in mind. But what is important, is that Turkey has indicated clearly its desire and willingness to see talks resume, negotiations resume. They will support and actively play a role in the negotiations. The effort would be restricted, sustained until we come to a conclusion and we are also aware that it has to be done before the first of May. They accept that. Of course as to the details of positions, that will have to be discussed on the table with the others, not in a public forum like this, and I would not want to get into anything else".

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


    Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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