|Wednesday, 29 November 2023|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-04-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>April 26, 2004
 Greece says will continue to be at Cyprus' side, after referendum
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)The Greek government reiterated that it will continue to be where it's always been - at Cyprus' side - offering its support, after the announcement of the results of the referenda on a UN plan to settle the Cyprus problem on Saturday.
Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos in a press statement said:
''After Lucerne and in light of today's referendum, all political forces in Cyprus and Greece took a position regarding the Plan of the UN Secretary General. Today, the people of Cyprus made their decision, which of course we will all respect.
''In a few days a new period begins. Cyprus officially joins the European Union and begins its European course as full-fledged member. Within the EU framework, it will be in everyone's interests to continue rapprochement efforts between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.
''The Greek government reiterates today that Greece will continue to be where it always has been - by Cyprus' side - offering its support. We will face the new situation, in cooperation with the Cypriot government. We will pursue in keeping open the process of finding a definitive resolution to Cyprus' political problem.''
Main opposition leader says reaffirms solidarity with Cypriot Hellenism: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou commenting Saturday evening on the results of the Cyprus referenda said that his party reaffirms its solidarity with Cypriot Hellenism.
''We have stated from the very first moment and we reaffirm today our solidarity with Cypriot Hellenism. The vote of the Greek Cypriots is respected'', Papandreou said in a statement.
''We call on the international community as well as our EU partners not to hastily adopt as obvious the interpretation that the result of the referendum constitutes the rejection of a vision for a reunited Cyprus,'' he said.
''No Greek can accept that the Cyprus issues closes today. I believe that it can be resolved. The occupation should end. Cyprus should be reunited in a bizonal, bicommunal federation within the framework of UN and EU resolutions,'' he added.
The Cyprus issue, Papandreou said, will be at the centre of Greece's foreign policy and will affect Greek-Turkish relations.
He also called on the government to take new initiatives on the issue.
Communist party says will stand by the side of Greek and Turkish Cypriots: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Saturday that it will continue to be at the side of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, after the results of a referendum on a UN plan to resolve the Cyprus problem were announced.
''The Cypriot people, with the sweeping majority of a 'NO' vote, rejected the Annan plan,'' Orestis Kolozov, member of the KKE political bureau said in a statement. ''The powerful 'no' constitutes a strong asset for the Cypriots in any future solution-seeking processes for a federal, bi-zonal and bi-communal Cyprus; a demilitarized Cyprus, without foreign bases and guarantor powers,'' he added.
Greek Cypriots rejected the UN plan with an overwhelming majority of 75,83 per cent while 64,91 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted 'yes'.
''KKE will continue to be at the side of the people of Cyprus - Greek and Turkish Cypriots - in their struggle to ward off foreign intervention and to open the road for a just solution that will benefit all citizens of the island,'' Kolozov concluded.
SYN leader says 'will of Cypriot people respected': Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Saturday said the ''will and the decision of Greek and Turkish Cypriots is respected'' as expressed in parallel referenda on a UN plan to solve the long-standing Cyprus issue.
Greek Cypriots rejected the plan with an overwhelming majority of 75,83 per cent while 64,91 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted 'yes'.
The results of the referenda indicate the beginning of a new period for the Cyprus problem. During this new period, the momentum to find a solution should not be lost, while the danger of abandoning the problem and allowing occupation to continue should be avoided, Constantopoulos said.
''For this reason SYN recommends that new initiatives be taken immediately - as soon as Monday - on an international level, in order to find a solution to the Cyprus problem; a solution which we all must say clearly that we want.
''As far as SYN is concerned, the objective is to reunify the island and for the two communities to reach a rapprochement, so that the solution is a viable one for the entire Cyprus population and a functional one based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, as a united state, a full-fledged and equal European member,'' the SYN leader said.
 Final results of Cyprus referenda
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)The majority of Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus have voted for the Annan plan. Specifically, 64.91% of Turkish Cypriots voted 'yes', while 35.01% voted ''no.''
The reverse is true of the Greek Cypriot side which overwhelmingly voted against the Annan plan, with votes against representing 75.83% of the vote, while only 24.17% voted in favor of the plan.
 European Commission regrets Greek Cypriot 'no' to UN plan
BRUSSELS 26/04/2004 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)The European Union Commission on Saturday expressed its deep regret over the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of a UN plan for a Cyprus settlement.
''The European Commission deeply regrets that the Greek Cypriot community did not approve the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, but it respects the democratic decision of the people,'' the EU executive said in a statement. However, it adds that, ''a unique opportunity to bring about a solution to the long-standing Cyprus issue has been missed.''
The Commission warmly congratulated the Turkish Cypriots for their ''yes'' vote, adding that it indicated their clear desire to solve the island's problem, while stating that ''it [the Commission] is prepared to examine ways to further promote economic growth in the northern part of Cyprus.''
In the statement the Commission also stated that, ''it will consider the new situation in Cyprus after the referenda and will present its views at the council of ministers to be held in Luxembourg on Monday.''
Finally, the Commission thanks the UN Secretary General and his associates ''who worked hard towards a comprehensive solution and for their close cooperation with the European Commission during the drafting of the plan.''
 US expresses disappointment over G/C rejection of Annan Plan
WASHINGTON 26/04/2004 (ANA/P.Panayiotou/CNA)The US expressed disappointment that the majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan Plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, in separate referenda in the two communities here Saturday.
US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher described the outcome as a ''setback to the hopes'' of those on the island who voted for the settlement and to the international community.
He commended those who approved the plan, in particular the Turkish Cypriots, adding that the US is looking forward to the UN Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on his good offices mission.
In his statement, Boucher said ''culminating years of UN sponsored negotiations, which the US strongly supported, Greek and Turkish Cypriots voted in parallel referenda on a comprehensive UN plan to end the tragic division of their island''.
He commended Annan, his Special Advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, and the UN team ''for their outstanding work'' and ''we also welcome the support that the Turkish and Greek governments gave to the UN plan''.
Boucher said the State Department also commended all those ''who voted to approve the plan -- particularly a large majority of Turkish Cypriots -- for their courage and their vote for peace and reconciliation''.
''We are disappointed that a majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the settlement plan. Failure of the referenda in the Greek Cypriot community is a setback to the hopes of those on the island who voted for the settlement and to the international community'', the State Department spokesman said.
''We look forward to the Secretary General's report to the UN Security Council on his Good Offices Mission'', he concluded.
 UN chief's envoy de Soto: 'historic opportunity' missed on Cyprus
NICOSIA 26/04/2004 (ANA/CNA)In a statement relayed by his envoy Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Saturday said he respected the outcome of the two referenda in Cyprus and noted that a unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem had been missed.
De Soto said that Annan intended to study the implications of the result, which meant that the Foundation Agreement on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus would not enter into force.
Greek Cypriots rejected the proposed UN solution by 75.83 per cent and Turkish Cypriots voted by 64.9 per cent in favor of the Annan plan.
Annan expressed hope that ways would be found to ease the plight of the Turkish Cypriots and stressed that he remained convinced that his proposal was fair, viable and a carefully balanced compromise.
Annan's special adviser on Cyprus, who conducted the lengthy talks between the island's two communities for years, said there were no plans to renegotiate the plan as it stood at the moment and said he and his team would be leaving the island this week. The full text of a statement attributable to de Soto on the outcome of the referenda in Cyprus is as follows:
''The Secretary-General notes the outcome of the separate simultaneous referenda held today in Cyprus on the settlement plan finalized on 31 March 2004. Since it was approved in the Turkish Cypriot referendum but not in the Greek Cypriot referendum, the Foundation Agreement will not enter into force.
The Secretary-General respects the outcome of the two referenda. He knows that for many Cypriots the decision how to vote was a difficult one. The goal of the effort over the last four and a half years has been to bring about reunification so as to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union. That goal has not been achieved. A unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem has been missed.
The Secretary-General intends to give careful thought to the implications of today's result. Meanwhile, Cyprus will remain divided and militarized as it accedes to the European Union, and the benefits of a settlement will not be realized.
The Secretary-General applauds the Turkish Cypriots, who approved the plan notwithstanding the significant sacrifices that it entailed for many of them. He regrets that the Turkish Cypriots will not equally enjoy the benefits of EU membership as of 1 May 2004, but he hopes that ways will be found to ease the plight in which the people find themselves through no fault of their own.
Together with a broad cross-section of the international community, the Secretary-General remains convinced that the settlement plan put to the two sides in today's referenda represents a fair, viable and carefully balanced compromise -- one that conforms with the long agreed parameters for a solution, and with the Security Council's vision for a settlement and meets the minimum requirements of all concerned. Clearly, a large majority of the Greek Cypriot electorate did not share that judgment today. He hopes that they may nevertheless arrive at a different view in the fullness of time, after a profound and sober assessment of today's decision. For a settlement to the long-standing Cyprus problem would benefit the people of Cyprus, as well as the region and the wider international community.
The Secretary-General will report to the Security Council in due course. The Council may wish to evaluate the outcome and its implications.
The Secretary-General appreciates the strong backing that the plan received from many political figures on both sides. He is grateful that Greece and Turkey, the Security Council, the European Union and the broader international community stood ready to throw their support behind the Cypriots and work to ensure full implementation.
Above all, he is thankful to his Special Adviser and his outstanding team, as well as for the dedication of many people from all walks of life in Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, who struggled for reunification and reconciliation.''
 Cyprus president says measures for Turkish-Cypriots to be announced at EU
NICOSIA 26/04/2004 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Sunday said his government will announce measures enabling Turkish Cypriots to enjoy the benefits of the island's entry into the European Union at Monday's EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
Speaking to the foreign press one day after Greek Cypriots rejected a UN plan for a comprehensive settlement in a nationwide referendum, Papadopoulos stressed that a set of measures which the European Commission intended to announce tomorrow should be given to the Turkish Cypriots only.
While ruling out a new round of talks for a solution in the next weeks as unlikely, noting that people needed time to reflect and analyze what went wrong, Papadopoulos said that there will be a new initiative and that ''we all want talks under UN auspices''.
He said he wanted to start negotiations on a limited number of issues which do not necessarily take away the rights of Turkish Cypriots, noting that the Annan Plan would not fade or disappear.
Papadopoulos called on Greek Cypriot political parties to include Turkish Cypriots in their candidate lists for the European Parliament elections in June.
He also explained that the Greek-Cypriot no did not reject a solution to the Cyprus problem but the specific UN plan.
The Cyprus president, who had urged Cypriots to vote against the plan, said that it did not address the concerns of Greek Cypriots.
He claimed that the UN Secretary-General had preferred to satisfy the demands of the Turkish-Cypriot side that were outside the framework of his plan but had failed to satisfy demands of the Greek-Cypriots that lay within its parameters.
Papadopoulos also denied that a climate of fear had been cultivated in the Greek-Cypriot community, stressing that all views had been heard equally in an open dialogue.
The Cyprus president said that he was prepared to accept the presence of any international force on Cyprus for as long as was necessary, whatever its composition, regardless of the countries and organizations that made it up.
At the same time, he noted that the main objection to the Annan plan was not the numbers of Turkish occupation troops that remained but that Turkey would be given powers to intervene in both the states created under the plan, while pointing out that UN guarantees had not prevented the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Papadopoulos also stressed that the Annan plan had not included his own request for a mechanism to check justification for exercising such rights of intervention.
Regarding the comments made by EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who claimed to have been misled by the Greek-Cypriots, Papadopoulos admitted that these had been damaging for him and the Greek-Cypriot side.
He noted, however, that neither he nor his predecessor president Glafcos Clerides had ever promised to accept any specific plan.
''The only promise we made at Helsinki was that, in exchange for Cyprus' accession without a solution to the Cyprus problem, was that the government would not raise obstacles to efforts to find a solution,'' he said.
He announced that his government would begin a campaign to show that the positions of the Greek Cypriot side were neither arbitrary nor unjustified.
Papadopoulos stressed that his goal was not to deny the Turkish Cypriots their rights:
''It is accepted that no side can impose its will on the other, but at the same time no side can have the right to raise obstacles and prevent the taking of decisions so as to paralyze and dismantle the state,'' he stressed.
 Greece engaged in round of EU contacts over Cyprus, upcoming EU council
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis held talks with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer on Saturday morning, in preparation for the upcoming EU General Affairs Council taking place in Luxembourg on Monday.
The results of Saturday's referenda on Cyprus and the island republic's imminent accession to the EU on May 1 are expected to figure strongly in discussions at the EU ministers' meeting.
Prior to his conversation with Fischer, Molyviatis had received a phone call from Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iakovou, who is later to contact Ireland's foreign minister Brian Cowen, who currently heads the EU council.
Within the framework of the same round of contacts, meanwhile, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Friday held talks with French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier over the phone.
 Greek-Cypriot 'no' to UN plan poorly received by German gov't, EU Commissioner26/04/2004 BERLIN (ANA - P. Stagos)
The Greek-Cypriots' overwhelming rejection of a UN-brokered plan to reunify Cyprus was met with disappointment and a degree of rancor by German officials on Saturday night, while Germany's EU Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen said it would cast a shadow over Cyprus' membership when the island formally accedes to the bloc on May 1.
Speaking to the Germany's ARD Television, Verheugen said the 'no' vote had caused ''great political damage'' and had unnecessarily complicated EU relations with Turkey, as well as sending out a negative and undesirable message for peace in the entire region.
German Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer, who had earlier held talks with Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis over the phone in view of Monday's EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, issued a coldly worded announcement expressing regret that Cyprus will not be joining the EU reunited on May 1.
It also noted disappointment that ''the citizens in the south of the island did not take advantage of the great opportunity provided by the Annan plan for reunification'' and said that EU foreign ministers would examine the situation in light of the results of the dual referenda held on the island.
According to sources, the German government has ruled out diplomatic recognition of the illegal Turkish-Cypriot regime set up in the north of Cyprus but will apparently support a lifting of EU trade sanctions against the poorer occupied territories in the north.
The issue will apparently be raised during Monday's EU council in Luxembourg and will also be a key issue in talks between German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.
The Greek-Cypriot 'no' in Saturday's separate referenda, in which a majority of Turkish-Cypriots voted in favor of the Annan plan, means that only the areas south of the 'Green Line' dividing the island will join the EU on May 1.
 Parliament speaker says Greece at Cyprus' side
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Parliament speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki said on Sunday that Greece would always remain at Cyprus' side.
Speaking a day after Greek Cypriots voted to reject a UN plan to solve the Cyprus problem, Psarouda-Benaki said their decision was respected while efforts would continue to find a just and viable solution to the island's division.
The former parliament speaker, Apostolos Kaklamanis, said in a separate statement that leeway still existed for a just and functional solution to the Cyprus problem to be found in the near future.
 ND secretary urges cooperation in handling 'day after' Greek-Cypriot 'no'
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary Vaggelis Meimarakis on Sunday called for ''cooperation, dialogue and trust'' in handling the 'day after' the Greek-Cypriots' rejection of the Annan plan for Cyprus.
As he departed to attend the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, Meimarakis said the government's ''responsible attitude protected and strengthened the national unity and consensus demand at this time and had created the conditions for a national beneficial handling of the next day''.
Noting that the Cyprus problem was not an issue that lent itself to petty party-politics, Meimarakis stressed the need for "honest cooperation" in dealings with political forces both of the international community and within Greece and Cyprus in order to achieve the Greek side's goals.
 Foreign minister to meet Irish counterpart in Luxembourg
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis was scheduled to meet Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, in Luxembourg on Sunday night.
Molyviatis is in Luxembourg to attend the EU General Affairs Council that will take place on Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday morning, Molyviatis is to have a working breakfast with EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, followed by a meeting later in the morning with EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten.
 Archbishop calls meeting of Church Hierarchy to discuss relations with Phanar
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, has called an emergency meeting of the Hierarchy of the Church on Monday to discuss relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar.
The Hierarchy will be called to ratify a decision made the Holy Synod in March on this issue and then elect new metropolitans for the northern Greek archdioceses in Thessaloniki, Eleftheroupoli, Kozani and Mesogaia.
The meeting is scheduled to last just one day.
The decision to call an emergency meeting has been criticized by certain prelates, who say it will lead to "problems and adventures" for the Church of Greece.
 Greek Communist party begins campaign for Euro-elections
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday officially kicked off its campaign for the European Parliament elections in June with a proclamation that emphasized its opposition anti-European policy.
With the central slogan ''There are other choices for the people of Europe'', KKE roundly criticizes EU policies and calls on people to "rally for Europe of peace, people's rights and socialism".
 Gov't and civil servants' union reach tentative agreement over contract workers
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the leadership of the civil servants' union ADEDY on Saturday reached a tentative agreement on certain points regarding the public-sector contract workers.
ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyrou said the two sides agreed that the conversion from temporary to indefinite contracts will be done directly and not through a point-system for contract workers not included in a presidential decree due to be issued in May.
They also agreed that permanent jobs will be given to contract workers with 24 months service, irrespective of whether they were full or part-time, while the time gap within their contracts could be up to three months.
The agreement will apply to all those whose contracts were in force on June 10 this year or up to two months previously.
The two sides also set May 18 as the date for the start of negotiations for collective agreements.
 Government appoints new governor for IKA
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Sunday announced the appointment of Ioannis Vartholomeos, a professor at Piraeus University, as the new governor of the Social Insurances Foundation (IKA).
Roussopoulos also announced the appointments of two deputy governors for IKA, former National Health Service director Dimitris Kyrzopoulos and lawyer Nikos Gerassimou.
The spokesman said the position of third deputy governor would be reinstituted to cover the anticipated increase in demands on IKA during the Olympic Games, and would be taken over by the vice-president of the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association Theodoros Abatzoglou once the necessary procedures had been completed.
 Tourism minister attends foundation ceremony for Hotel Chamber building
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Top echelons of the newly-created tourism ministry, including Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, on Saturday attended the foundation ceremony for a new building to house the Greek Hotels Chamber, an institution created some 70 years ago.
Avramopoulos congratulated hoteliers on realizing a dream of several years and said that it laid the foundations of a new era for the Greek tourist industry.
He reiterated assurances for constant cooperation and complete support for hoteliers' efforts to develop and promote Greece.
 Minister urges Armenians to seek acknowledgment of genocide
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)Armenians should continue their endeavour to seek acknowledgment of the 1915 genocide of their people by Turkey, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Sunday.
Attending a commemoration event for the genocide, Pavlopoulos said that the international community should move in the same direction, exercising greater pressure on Turkey's leaders.
Parliament speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki said that forgetfulness about the issue should be combated, regardless of whether it stemmed from ignorance or expediency, in order to help avert other instances.
The event to commemorate the Armenian genocide was arranged under the aegis of Athens prefecture authorities.
 Plaque laid for Thessaloniki Jews killed in Holocaust
Athens, 26/04/2004 (ANA)A commemorative plaque was laid in Thessaloniki's former station building on Sunday to mark the death of 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The Jews left the northern port city's station between March and August 1943 in thirteen consignments headed for Nazi concentration camps, from which 96 per cent never returned.
Delivering a message for the event arranged by the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki was Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis, who earlier attended a commemoration for the dead at Thessaloniki's synagogue along with other government ministers and senior local government officials.
 New crisis looms in relations between Greek Church and Phanar
ISTANBUL 26/04/2004 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)A lull of peace in relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar may prove to be short-lived, following the latest moves initiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos regarding the empty seats of dioceses in the north of Greece.
In a letter on Sunday, the Patriarchate warned that it will not recognize the election of new metropolitans engineered by Christodoulos and will cease ''communion'' with him.
The Synod in Phanar warned the Archbishop not to create a 'fait accompli' and respect the procedure approved by the Athens Synod regarding the ecclesiastical administration of the 'new lands' in the north of Greece.
It calls on Greek prelates that have been called to attend an emergency meeting of the Church Hierarchy on Monday not to cooperate.
The Patriarchate is apparently concerned that Christodoulos will ask the Hierarchy to elect the new metropolitans before it has ratified an agreement replacing a Holy Synod decision in November 2003 that the Patriarchate objects to.
 Cyprus President Papadopoulos says 'no' response not the end of the road
NICOSIA 26/04/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said that the ''no'' response from Saturday's referendum in the Greek Cypriot community on a UN plan for a Cyprus settlement was not the end of the road, noting that he remained focused on reaching a bizonal, bicommunal federation settlement.
In a statement at the Presidential Palace after the final results were presented to him by Chief Returning Officer Kyriakos Triantafyllides, President Papadopoulos said the people did not say ''no'' to a Cyprus settlement but to the specific solution proposed.
He added that when the Greek Cypriots say ''yes'' to a solution, it will be a settlement in the interests of both communities on the island, and spoke about new measures to support the Turkish Cypriots.
President Papadopoulos said he was satisfied that the democratic norms were observed throughout the referendum procedure.
He thanked the EU, the UN and Greece for their efforts towards reaching a Cyprus settlement.
President Papadopoulos said the result of the referendum in the Greek Cypriot community, which rejected a UN plan for a Cyprus settlement, should act as a catalyst for unification and not as a pretext for further division.
He assured the Turkish Cypriots that he remained focused on a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, noting that he would be announcing new measures to support the Turkish Cypriots and allow them, as far as possible, to participate in the benefits Cyprus' accession to the EU.
President Papadopoulos said ''the people of Cyprus, having full and objective information, faithful to their democratic traditions, freely exercised their right,'' noting that whoever has been following the course towards the referendum ''dismisses as unfounded the allegations about intervention and misinformation of the citizens.''
He said it was regrettable that certain persons had tried to question the will of the people, and expressed hope that the European Commission statement regarding the democratic decision of the Greek Cypriot community would put an end to the phenomenon of ''twisting the truth''.
''The people of Cyprus, with a full sense of their historical responsibility regarding their future and their duty to safeguard the implementation of a functional and viable settlement for future generations, did not accept the proposed solution plan. The will of the people should not be misinterpreted by anyone. The people did not say no to the solution. They said no to this particular plan. We want the reunification of Cyprus and the two communities in conditions of security, with human rights and fundamental freedoms safeguarded,'' he said.
The Cypriot President expressed regret that the plan was not one that could have been accepted, so that everyone would be celebrating the reunification of the country.
Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, he assured them that ''we remain steadfastly focused on a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which will permit us to live peacefully and freely in conditions of security and welfare in our common homeland.''
Despite the negative stance of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side over the years, ''we never believed that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots did not want a settlement,'' the president said, and called on them to ''understand the feelings and reasons that did not allow the Greek Cypriots to adopt the proposed plan.''
''I want to underline with emphasis that the non acceptance of the Annan plan is not the end of the road. There will be a continuation.
There will necessarily be new prospects and new possibilities. I am sorry if our no disappointed our Turkish Cypriot compatriots. They should know, however, that when we say yes it will be in their true interests. I will strive and struggle for that,'' he said.
He added that ''we do not turn our backs on our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, on the contrary we extend our hand,'' noting that ''we will not proceed alone to the EU, we will walk this road together.''
''Proof of our intentions are the new measures to support the Turkish Cypriots and, as far as possible, for them to participate in the benefits our accession to the EU offers,'' he added.
President Papadopoulos said that on May 1 the Republic of Cyprus will officially be joining the EU and expressed gratitude to the UN, the EU and Greece for their efforts towards reaching a Cyprus settlement.
''Our accession opens new horizons and new prospects. We will utilize them constructively to achieve a solution, which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be able to embrace warmly, because it will guarantee everyone's rights and will seal their common future permanently,'' he added.
The president called for ''unity, fraternity and union of heart in the common struggle to face the difficulties we will meet.''
He added that ''the result of today's referendum must act as a catalyst for unification and not as a pretext for further division.''
''Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots deserve a better fate. A secure future for ourselves and the generations to come. I will struggle for this. I am sure we will achieve it,'' he concluded.
 Cypriot Minister expects new initiatives for solution ''very soon''
LARNACA 26/04/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minster of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou expressed on Sunday the view that there would be new initiatives for a solution of the Cyprus problem ''very soon''.
He added that the government is ready to face any challenges that would come up, after Saturday's rejection by the Greek Cypriot community of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Iacovou departed on Sunday for Luxembourg to attend the General Affairs and External Relations Council that will take place on April 26 and 27.
In statements upon departure, Iacovou said the Council would discuss the Cyprus issue and examine the status of the demarcation line, after Saturday's rejection of the Annan plan.
''We cannot rule out the possibility that there would be soon a new initiative for a solution of the Cyprus problem'', he said.
Iacovou added that he would meet Sunday evening in Luxembourg with his Greek counterpart Petros Molyviatis to coordinate further actions regarding the Cyprus problem.
Answering a question on how the government would face any possible problems after the rejection of the Annan plan, he said that President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and the ministry of foreign affairs are evaluating all information they have, in order to be ready to face any possibility. ''We are ready to face all challenges,'' he said.
Regarding further measures to support the Turkish Cypriots, Iacovou said that the government's policy is to economically strengthen the Turkish Cypriot community.
''It is wrong to believe that we do not wish to support and financially strengthen the Turkish Cypriots. This is the government's policy but it has to be done within the framework of the international and national legality,'' he explained.
Iacovou was also invited to comment on statements made Sunday by EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, who said ''there is now (after the rejection of the Annan plan) a shadow over Cyprus' accession to the EU''.
The Cypriot minister expressed the view that the Commissioner's statements, as well as other statements made Sunday, reflect the disappointment of the international community that Cyprus would not be able to join the EU on May 1 as a reunited island.
He added that Commissioner Verheugen's statements do not imply that Cyprus would not be joining the EU.
Iacovou was also invited to comment on Commissioner Verheugen's statement that the EU-Turkey relations are more complicated after the rejection of the Annan plan.
He said that Turkey, who already enjoys a Customs Union with the EU, is not complying with its obligations.
Iacovou referred to the fact that Turkey is still prohibiting the mooring of Cypriot ships, and denies Cypriot aircrafts to use its air space.
 British Foreign Secretary's reaction over referendum results
NICOSIA 26/04/2004 (CNA/ANA)British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has expressed disappointment at the Greek Cypriot side's negative stand on a UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, as expressed on Saturday in a referendum.
He welcomed the vote in favor by the Turkish Cypriot community which, he said clearly indicates a fundamental change of attitude in the community in the recent years.
At the same time he pledged to exert all efforts to ensure that the settlement is the practical and political success which Cypriots have so long deserved.
In simultaneous referenda, Greek Cypriots rejected the plan by 75.8% while Turkish Cypriots voted 64.9% in favor.
In his statement, Straw said he was ''saddened by the decision of a majority of Greek Cypriot voters to reject the settlement, despite the prospect it offered of reuniting the island, providing long-sought relief for the refugees of 1974, and progressively lifting the weight of militarization all this within the framework of political stability and economic security which European Union membership provides''.
''We will respect the choice which Greek Cypriots have expressed today. But I hope that they will continue to reflect on whether this choice is the right one for them'', he said.
Straw said he was ''glad that the Turkish Cypriot community has voted so clearly for the settlement. The result shows what a fundamental change of attitude has taken place within the Turkish Cypriot community in recent years''.
The British foreign secretary said he understands ''very well their wish to end their isolation in the world, to join with Greek Cypriots in a reunified island, and to move together into the European Union which is the best guarantee for the future of their collective security and prosperity. I want them to know that this remains our goal too, and that we will continue to work for its ultimate realization''.
At the same time, Straw assured ''all Cypriots that, if at any point in the future both communities decide in favor of a comprehensive settlement which would reunify the island in the European Union, the United Kingdom, as a Guarantor Power, a permanent member of the Security Council and a leading EU member state, not to mention a long-standing friend and supporter of Cyprus, will be exerting all its efforts to ensure that the settlement is the practical and political success which Cypriots have so long deserved''.|
 France regrets result of Cyprus referendum
NICOSIA 26/04/2004 (CNA/ANA)France expressed regret over the result of the referendum held on Saturday on the island, but renewed its support to the UN Secretary-General's efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
A foreign ministry spokesman said France hopes that SG Kofi Annan would pursue his mission of good offices for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
In a statement, the spokesman said ''France notes the results of the referenda in Cyprus which ended in the rejection of the Annan Plan for the island's reunification by one of the parties. It regrets that this result will not allow the accession of a reunited Cyprus in the EU, something which France always favored''.
''France renews its support to the efforts undertaken by the UN Secretary General. It wishes that Kofi Annan will continue to pursue his mission of good offices to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem'', the French spokesman said.
''Cyprus' accession to the EU, on May 1, will not assume its full significance until such time that the two communities are reconciled,'' it was noted.
''Within this context, France hopes that the Commission, in accordance with the conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council of December 2002, proposes that proper measures be taken to promote the economic development of the northern part of the island and bring it closer to the Union,'' the spokesman concluded.