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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 04-02-18

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 <>

  • [01]Wednesday, 18 February 2004 National Council discusses decision to resume talks
  • [02] Papandreou: Cyprus problem high on agenda of international community
  • [03] UN top envoy arrives in Cyprus in view of new round of peace talks
  • [04] "Unity of Cyprus has become a very realistic possibility", says Schwimmer

    [01] National Council discusses decision to resume talks

    The National Council - the President's top advisory body on the handling of the Cyprus question - convened yesterday afternoon under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos. Speaking after the meeting, Government Spokesman Mr Kypros Chrysostomides made the following statement: "During today's meeting of the National Council, the President of the Republic Mr Tassos Papadopoulos briefed in detail and extensively the Council members about the recent talks at the UN Headquarters and the agreement reached with regard to the process of negotiations. The members of the negotiating team for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and the members of the National Council expressed their views, assessments and concerns. The National Council members, except the New Horizons representatives, support the effort of the President of the Republic to achieve those changes that would make the solution functional and viable."

    [02] Papandreou: Cyprus problem high on agenda of international community

    Mr George Papandreou, newly-elected President of Greece's ruling socialist party PASOK and contestant in the March elections in Greece, noted that the Cyprus problem was now high on the agenda of the international community, something that the Greek and Cyprus governments had been pursuing for years. Speaking after a meeting with President Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday in Nicosia, Mr Papandreou said he and the President had the opportunity to exchange views on the new phase of direct talks, resuming tomorrow, which might ensue in a possible participation of Greece and Turkey under the auspices of the United Nations. He further noted that he had recently spoken over the telephone with the UN Secretary-General who had asked Mr Papandreou to stay in close contact with him for any developments regarding the peace process. "Mr Annan is willing to contribute substantially towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem", Mr Papandreou pointed out. Noting the significance of the participation of the European Union in the talks, and of the European Commission in particular, Mr Papandreou said it would help ensure the functional participation of a united Cyprus in the EU.

    [03] UN top envoy arrives in Cyprus in view of new round of peace talks

    The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto, arrived in Cyprus last night, in view of the new round of direct talks to resume tomorrow for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. Speaking upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport, the UN envoy said he was optimistic that a viable and functional solution would emerge from the talks, noting that "we are either there or very close to it already". According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Mr de Soto noted, "What we are hoping for is that since it is going to be necessarily a compromise, and compromises usually don't have many fans or enthusiasts, that the leaders will continue to participate in this exercise, will rise up to their responsibility thus helping to explain how a compromise is necessary and indeed unavoidable in order to reach a settlement on Cyprus". He also said, in response to a question, that "the Secretary-General has gone out of his way this time around to make clear that if the two sides want changes we will be looking very carefully at them and we will be there to lend our assistance, helping to build bridges and helping to create trade-offs and we will look for all opportunities to do so". Before coming to Cyprus, the Peruvian diplomat was in Brussels where he held talks with EU Enlargement Commissioner Mr Gunter Verheugen and Commission President Mr Romano Prodi on the Cyprus peace efforts. Speaking after his meeting with Mr Verheugen, Mr de Soto noted inter alia the following: "We are about to launch into, what we hope is the end game of this process. At long last, it is the oldest peace-making mandate that the Secretary- General has and we are looking forward to completing it. We will do so with not only the material and human support and technical support of the European Commission, but also spared by what has been, as the S.G. has said in his reports to the Security Council, the catalytic element that is provided by the prospect of Cyprus' accession to the EU on 1 May 2004 and the strong need, I dare to say the imperative, that that accession should be as a united state rather than a divided one. We are looking forward to a very intense few weeks ahead of us." For his part, the Enlargement Commissioner said a solution of the long-standing Cyprus problem was now closer than ever and pledged that the European Commission would fully support the UN peace process "not only with experts on the ground, but also with all the experience which we have acquired as a neutral mediator during the long accession process". He also noted that he would come to the island today to encourage the two sides to agree on outstanding issues as quickly as possible. "I want to assure them all of our support, that we can welcome on the 1st of May a reunited Cyprus as a new member state", he added, stressing that the settlement of the Cyprus problem was a matter of the highest priority for the Commission. Replying to a question on the role of the EU in the peace process, Mr Verheugen pointed out the following: "First of all, we have to help the parties to find solutions for problems which have to do with the acquis communautaire. Secondly, we have to prepare on a very clear, transparent legal situation, which would fulfil what President Prodi and I have promised several times and the Member States have endorsed, that we will accommodate the terms of the settlement, as long as the settlement is based on the principles on which the EU is founded. But there is no doubt that this will be the case. I do not think that a kind of institutionalized role or something like that is necessary. Our presence is guaranteed, our presence is strong and I think that our presence is in this principle. But we are there in order to support the UN. This is very clear, it is a UN mandate and it is not our mandate. We have to support it and we will do that." Mr Alvaro de Soto said, in response to another question about the holding of simultaneous separate referenda, that the UN would find it "deeply surprising at the very least if not tragic that people should not accept the agreed settlement", noting, "We do not have a plan B nor are we thinking about scenarios about what will happen." "We are quite confident that the Cypriot people, all of them, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, so long mourned this separation, will take up not only the opportunity but also the challenges of reunification", he added.

    [04] "Unity of Cyprus has become a very realistic possibility", says Schwimmer

    The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Walter Schwimmer, has welcomed the major breakthrough towards a solution that the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides have committed themselves to negotiate on the basis of the plan of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a Council of Europe press release said. "I congratulate Kofi Annan for this frank success", Mr Schwimmer said in Strasbourg. "Mostly I am particularly happy for the people of Cyprus, who are one decisive step nearer to achieving unity before Cyprus will join the European Union on 1st May 2004. For the first time in 30 years the unity of Cyprus has become a very realistic possibility. We must do everything not to miss this chance", he added, pointing out however that there was a great deal of work ahead "for the plan to be completed in all respects by 22nd March 2004". According to the press release, issued last Saturday, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe has already responded to Mr Kofi Annan's call for assistance positively and plans, as a first step, to invite party leaders from both communities to meet for the second time in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg at the beginning of March.

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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