|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-02-14
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ANNAN: ALL CONCERNED NOW FACE HISTORIC RESPONSIBILITIESNew York, 13 February 2004 (21:01 UTC+2)
The statement on Cyprus which was accepted by all interested parties after intense negotiations at the UN Headquarters in New York, as it was read by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has as follows:
Negotiations resumed on February 10 at United Nations Headquarters in New York between the two parties in Cyprus, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Following three days of meetings and consultations, the Secretary-General is pleased to announce that the two parties have committed to negotiating in good faith on the basis of his plan to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem through separate and simultaneous referenda before May 1, 2004.
Ôo this end, the parties will seek to agree on changes and to complete the plan in all respects by March 22, 2004, within the framework of the Secretary-General's mission of good offices, so as to produce a finalized text.
In the absence of such agreement, the Secretary-General would convene a meeting of the two sides with the participation of Greece and Turkey in order to lend their collaboration in a concentrated effort to agree on a finalized text by March 29.
As a final resort, in the event of a continuing and persistent deadlock, the parties have invited the Secretary-General to use his discretion to finalize the text to be submitted to referenda on the basis of his plan.
In addition, the parties have agreed on the other suggestions contained in the Secretary-General's invitation of February 4, 2004. They have also decided to form a technical committee on economic and financial aspects of implementation, to be chaired by the United Nations.
The guarantor powers have signified their commitment to this process and to meeting their obligations under it.
The Secretary-General welcomes these commitments as well as the assurances of the European Union to accommodate a settlement and the offer of technical assistance by the European Commission. He looks forward to drawing on this assistance as well as that of others in the course of the negotiations.
The talks will reconvene in Cyprus on Thursday, February 19, with direct meetings between the two parties in the presence of the Secretary-General Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto. The technical committees on laws and treaties will reconvene on the same day.
The Secretary-General commends the constructive spirit and political will displayed by both parties, as well as by Greece and Turkey, to reach this agreement.
All concerned now face historic responsibilities to bring about a just and lasting peace in Cyprus. The Secretary-General wishes them well, and looks forward to working closely with them.
 WEATHER STABILIZINGAthens, 14 February 2004 (18:32 UTC+2)
The situation in Greece after the extreme weather conditions was referred to today by Minister of the Interior Nikos Alivizatos.
I think that things have already improved. The weather helped in that. Thankfully we did not have any casualties in a phenomenon of this magnitude. We greatly depend on the sacrifices of the state mechanisms, but one should not underestimate the planning that had taken place. Of course it was not perfect, but it allowed for one of the greatest blizzards to strike Attica in recent years to be dealt with in a positive way initially, said Mr. Alivizatos.
A picture of the situation today was given by the Secretary General of the Civic Protection G. Georgakopoulos, according to whose statements: most central road arteries are open, with just a few less circulated roads still closed, although anti-skid chains will be needed on most this evening The black out in has been restored in almost all cases, including on the islands of the Aegean. Communications have been reestablished in most of the villages that were cut off due to the snow, and there are very few problems left in general, mostly in mountainous regions.
However there are still problems with the El. Venizelos airport in Athens, which reopened on Friday night. Most of the flights were cancelled due to the ice on the runways and few flights took off, shortly before 9am this morning. Airport authorities appealed to travelers to call the airport and find out if their flights have been cancelled to avoid waiting in the airport. Minister of Transportations Christos Verelis expressed his intense discomfort with rate at which airplanes that had been covered in snow were dug out.
In statements today, Foreign Minister and PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou thanked and congratulated all the workers who contributed in dealing with the problems caused by the weather, firemen, employees in municipalities, prefectures, soldiers, volunteers, doctors, everyone who helped, even citizens who joined in the efforts, in what many of the rescuing crews characterized as the worst blizzard in decades.
 WEATHER IMPROVINGAthens, 14 February 2004 (18:39 UTC+2)
The situation is slowly stabilizing, although there are still serious problems, after what was characterized as one of the worst blizzards in the past few decades. There is still snow in Central and Southern Greece, while national highways and major road arteries have been almost completely cleared of snow. Eastern Attica and the islands of Lemnos and Crete are still in a state of emergency with serious problems still to be solved. Trains and ships are traveling normally.
 COMMITMENT FOR AN AGREEMENT BY MARCH 29Thessaloniki, 14 February 2004 (17:06 UTC+2)
The agreement achieved in New York on Friday, for the continuation of negotiations based on the Annan proposal, was a step in the direction of a final solution for the Cyprus issue and the accession of a unified Cyprus to the EU on May 1. According to the proposal accepted by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, if no solution has been found by March 29, Mr. Annan will enforce the solution by "filling in the gaps" where there are disagreements. The two sides have until March 22 to come to an agreement. If they do not, then Greece and Turkey will participate in the negotiations with the "technical support" of the EU and "others". Negotiations will commence in Nicosia on February 19 in the presence of the UN Secretary General's representative, Mr. Alvaro de Soto.
 OFFICALS ON THE CYPRUS DEVELOPMENTSThessaloniki, 14 February 2004 (16:03 UTC+2)
In New York, another decisive step was made towards the solution of the Cyprus issue, stated Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Magriotis, who appreciated that Ankara is obliged, in the final phase of negotiations, to contribute to the solution.
During his visit to the Municipality of Ampelokipous in Thessaloniki, he expressed his view that the vindication of Greece and Cyprus is near, and he underlined that the reunification of the island, 30 years after the invasion, is a vindication for Hellenism in general.
The compromise agreement in New York has opened the path for the recommencing of negotiations, pointed out President of ND Costas Karamanlis, during a speech he made in the framework of the ND regional conference of Northern Greece, in the Municipality of Evosmos, Thessaloniki.
Addressing candidate MPs and party officials in Northern Greece, Mr. Karamanlis said that the accession of Cyprus to the EU is a starting point for a better tomorrow for all Cypriots, and he underlined that New Democracy's agreement has opened the path to negotiations. We hope that it ends positively so that a reunified Cyprus joins the EU. Our support to the President of the Cypriot Republic, the leadership and the people of the island is given. We are next to them, we are near them, we are with them, said Mr. Karamanlis.
A more concerned viewpoint was expressed by member of the political secretariat of the KKE's central Committee, Orestis Kolozof, regarding the developments on the Cyprus issue. He stressed that there is a sense of the Cyprus issue entering a dark tunnel with an uncertain destination.
In his statements, Mr. Colozof underlined the KKE's concern on the pressures being exerted on the Cypriot delegation by the foreign factor and the Americans, as well as on the fact that the procedure that has been selected puts a single man in charge of finding a solution to a problem that will have consequences on the Cypriot Republic for many years to come.
Kofi Annan's statements undermine the international character of the Cyprus problem, which is an invasion and occupation problem, and an effort is being made, with the process that has been selected, to promote it as a bilateral problem between Greece and Turkey, said Mr. Colozof.