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Two sides agree on flag and anthem competition
2003-01-23 08:37:52

Nicosia, Jan 23 (CNA) - The two sides in Cyprus have agreed to authorise the United Nations to seek submissions on a flag and anthem for Cyprus competition, the details of which will soon be announced.

A statement by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) says the UN were authorised by the leaders of the two communities, Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, during their meeting yesterday in the context of UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

The open public competition will be carried out as foreseen in the revised proposal for a comprehensive settlement put to Clerides and Denktash by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last month.|

''The parties agreed that this procedure needed to be set in motion if a flag and anthem were to be ready to be included in a completed agreement by 28 February 2003, so as to enable the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to decide on the settlement in separate referenda on 30 March 2003'', the statement reads.

It adds that ''these competitions are foreseen in Article 3 of Appendix B of the Secretary General's proposal and concern only the flag and anthem''.

UNFICYP notes ''it is understood that the flag and anthem would only be adopted as part of a comprehensive settlement if the entire plan is approved in the separate referenda and a new state of affairs comes into being''.

The UN are expected to announce details shortly of how the competitions will be conducted. According to the press release, submissions will be required by a specified date in February and will be reviewed by bilateral committees, chaired by the UN. These committees will make by consensus recommendations to Clerides and Denktash from among entries received.

UNFICYP clarifies that ''this decision reflects a shared commitment to ensure that all preparations are made for a completed agreement in accordance with the timeframe proposed by the Secretary General, and it should not be taken as an indication of the state of play in the ongoing negotiations''.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are currently engaged in UN-led talks, with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the Annan plan.


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