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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 04-02-10

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]Tuesday, 10 February 2004 Greece and Cyprus affirm readiness for new talks
  • [02] Cypriots have historic opportunity to join EU united, says UN SG
  • [03] US urges Cyprus parties to negotiate seriously
  • [04] European Commission proposes Finance Minister as Cyprus' first Commissioner

    [01] Greece and Cyprus affirm readiness for new talks

    The President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, held talks with the Greek Prime Minister, Mr Costas Simitis, in Athens yesterday, in view of his meeting with the UN Secretary-General, today in New York, aimed at resuming the UN-sponsored negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Secretary-General's peace plan. Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr Costas Simitis said Greece and the Republic of Cyprus were ready to resume talks immediately, noting that it was up to Turkey and the occupation regime of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to prove that they really wanted a solution within the UN framework. "They now have the opportunity to follow the path of a bona fide cooperation, a bona fide negotiation, to reach a viable and functional solution of the political problem", the Greek Premier added. Referring to the issue of security, which directly affects Greece as a guarantor power, Mr Simitis said the matter would be handled by the new Greek government to emerge from the general elections on 7 March. For his part, President Papadopoulos stressed that the Cyprus Government's firm policy was to respond to every invitation for talks from the UN Secretary-General, within the framework of his mandate of good offices and on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions. "We are also ready this time to resume negotiations", Mr Papadopoulos added, pointing out that serious preparations had been made by the Greek Cypriot side to fill in the existing gaps. President Papadopoulos and his entourage departed later yesterday for New York, responding to Mr Kofi Annan's invitation for resuming peace talks.

    [02] Cypriots have historic opportunity to join EU united, says UN SG

    The people of Cyprus have a historic opportunity to unify their country and enter the European Union together, thus gaining great economic and social benefits, United Nations Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan said yesterday on the eve of talks, today in New York, with President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for a solution of the longstanding Cyprus problem. Speaking to reporters upon arrival at UN Headquarters, Mr Annan noted, "A unified Cyprus entering the European Union will really help reduce tensions in the Aegean region, it will improve relations all around in the region and it will also facilitate Turkey's entry into Europe. It is a win-win situation all around and I hope the people of Cyprus will press their leaders not to miss this opportunity". Referring to his meeting today with Mr Papadopoulos and Mr Denktash, the UN Secretary-General expressed the hope that there could at least be an agreement on the ground rules of how to proceed and on a work programme to enable the parties to conclude their work by 1 May 2004. "I have made proposals to them for us to discuss when they come here, because, quite frankly, as I have said, we do not have much time if we are going to meet the deadline of 1 May. It means we will have to finish the negotiations by the end of March to be able to have the referendum in April. So we will discuss all this to see if the parties are prepared to engage and to sustain the effort for us to ensure that a united Cyprus enters the EU on the 1st of May", Mr Annan added. Replying to a question, the Secretary- General warned that "if the parties do not agree, and they say 'no' to the plan or the basic agreement, then of course we are back to square one and cannot get an agreement". Asked if he would remain involved in the peace process if either side said 'no' to his proposals, he replied, "I think they are coming here with a very clear understanding. My report to the Security Council stated the conditions very clearly - that I will engage when I sense a real political will on the part of the parties to seek settlement and to come to the table and sustain the effort until we do it. And we are going to have the first meeting tomorrow, so let me go through that first meeting and see what we decide. I think getting to the point of a referendum in six weeks from now is perhaps going too far ahead of the game". Furthermore, in statements to the press earlier yesterday after briefing the UN Security Council on his latest initiatives regarding Cyprus, the Secretary-General said the UN would accept any changes to the Annan plan put forward by the parties with mutual consent. He also said that the talks on the Cyprus problem would be direct talks.

    [03] US urges Cyprus parties to negotiate seriously

    State Department Spokesman Mr Richard Boucher has said the US was pleased with the decision of the Cyprus parties to accept the UN Secretary- General's invitation to go to New York for new talks on the Cyprus problem, and urged the sides to negotiate "seriously". Mr Boucher further noted that the State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Mr Thomas Weston, would be attending the New York meetings today as an observer and not as a participant. Replying to questions, the US Spokesman also said Secretary of State Mr Colin Powell was personally involved in the Cyprus issue supporting the Secretary-General's efforts. "The Secretary [Mr Powell] did talk to Foreign Minister Gul on Friday about the upcoming talks. He has talked to his other interlocutors, the Secretary- General on Friday and again in a phone call yesterday, about Cyprus and about how we can all support the Secretary-General's efforts. It has been, obviously, a subject of discussion also with the French foreign minister on Friday and the Netherlands foreign minister today, because we recognise the important role that Europeans and the European Union have to play", Mr Boucher added.

    [04] European Commission proposes Finance Minister as Cyprus' first Commissioner

    The European Commission has proposed the Minister of Finance, Mr Markos Kyprianou, as the Republic's first Commissioner in Brussels as of 1 May 2004. Mr Kyprianou's name was announced yesterday by the European Commission in a list of ten Commissioners for each of the ten acceding states. The list of names will be submitted for ratification to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament by mid-April.

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


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