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Foreign Minister sees intensive effort towards a settlement
2003-01-27 16:05:45

Nicosia, Jan 27 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides expects the UN peace process to be intensified in a bid to reach a negotiated settlement within the UN target date of 28 February but is uncertain about the outcome of the internal political struggle in Turkey between the establishment and the forces that want change in the country.

The minister said that the international community does not rule out a sudden change of heart of the Turkish side with regard to Cyprus and warned that a sudden policy change on the part of the Greek Cypriot side could jeopardize Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

''We expect to see what will happen within Turkey as the Turkish Cypriot leader will be called upon to assume his responsibilities. The peace process will take on an accelerated pace and a more intensified effort will be made in the hope that it will lead to a successful conclusion,'' the minister said.|

The Turkish government, he said, understands the need to have an agreement signed within the time framework the UN has set out whereas Rauf Denktash at present is adopting a different policy.

''I cannot say how the talks will evolve but the international community does not rule out a sudden change for the better in the attitude of the Turkish side,'' Kasoulides said.

Replying to questions, he said those in Turkey who want to see changes understand very well that it is not in Ankara's interest to have Cyprus' Accession Treaty signed without a political settlement.

Asked to clarify why the international community believes there might be a sudden change in Turkish outlook, he said ''their assessment is probably based on private discussions they have with those in Ankara who want to see changes in the country.''

Asked if a change in the Turkish approach signifies the submission of a new revised UN peace plan, he replied ''not necessarily, this could mean a sudden change of the stance of the Turkish side with regard to the existing plan.''

''I cannot say that there will not be a second revised plan, nor can I foresee that there will be one, but I believe the international community is working in this direction,'' he added.

Invited to comment on remarks by President Glafcos Clerides about possible problems in Cyprus' accession course, Kasoulides said ''we are not running any risks, under normal circumstances, unless we fall asleep at the steering wheel, while driving.''

President Clerides told the Greek newspaper ''To Vima'' that a change of policy by the Greek Cypriot side could spell trouble for Cyprus' accession.

''If we ignore fully the intense efforts around us towards a settlement and we become arrogant because we have secured the Copenhagen decision, and if we suddenly change policy and show that we do not want a solution because accession to the EU has been secured, then we are at risk,'' Kasoulides said.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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