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President reiterates terms of reelection bid
2003-01-17 11:51:17

Nicosia, Jan 17 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides reiterated today in no uncertain terms that his decision to seek reelection for a limited 16-month period rests on his belief that during this time there is a chance of seeing a political settlement in Cyprus.

The President, in a written statement, also said that he would not serve a day longer beyond these 16 months, if elected in next month's presidential race.

''I have sound reason to expect that during this period (16 months) and in particular in the immediate time ahead there are preconditions to conclude a settlement of the Cyprus question. This is the sole reason that I have submitted my candidature,'' the President said.|

''My decision to seek reelection for a very limited period of 16 months is irreversible, at the end of this time, as I have said last night, I will definitely and irrevocably withdraw,'' the President said in his statement, read by his spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and issued to clarify misunderstandings or misinterpretations of his intentions as he outlined them at a televised press conference Thursday night.

Replying to questions, Papapetrou said President Clerides believes that there will be developments in 2003 and said the government has ''the resolve and the will to settle the Cyprus issue as soon as possible, even before 28 February,'' a target date set by the UN for a negotiated agreement.

Invited to comment on remarks by UN spokesman Fred Eckhart that it would be tragic if this opportunity for a solution was not seized, the Papapetrou said ''this is an attempt to exert more practical pressure in the effort of the UN Secretary General to solve the Cyprus question.''

''He (Secretary General) does not need to exert pressure on us because we have declared our readiness to cooperate for a solution on the 28th of February or any other time they (UN) wish,'' Papapetrou said.

He noted that pressure is exerted on ''Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is trying to undermine this effort.''

''Denktash is under unprecedented pressure by the international community. He is now confronted with a big dilemma, either he changes his policies or he resigns,'' Papapetrou said.

Denktash has been under increasing pressure from the Turkish Cypriots who were out in the streets this week demanding a political settlement on the basis of a UN plan and Denktash's resignation.


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