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Talks to continue even after February, say Papadopoulos, Izcan
2003-01-31 14:25:34

Nicosia, Jan 31 (CNA) ? The talks on the basis of the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement should continue, even if no solution is achieved by the end of February, leaders of the Greek Cypriot Democratic Party and the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus party said.

Democratic Party leader Tassos Papadopoulos said he discussed with UC Party General Secretary, Izzet Izcan the prospects of the ongoing UN-led direct talks and conveyed the wish of both sides for a solution to the Cyprus problem and to continue the negotiations based on the UN Secretary General's plan.

The two sides, he said, explained their positions on the Annan plan.|

Izcan said their meeting was useful, adding whoever wins the presidential elections in Cyprus, is "acceptable for us".

Izcan said what is important for his party is to continue the negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan and that he has ascertained a commitment by Papadopoulos, who is one of the candidates at next month's presidential elections, to continue negotiations based on the Annan plan whether there is a solution by the end of February or not.

The Turkish Cypriot politician said his community "continues the struggle, continues to organize demonstrations" while demonstrations will move to the villages in favour of a solution on the basis of the Annan plan.

Izcan said, "there are things that can be changed in the Annan plan as long as you do not destroy the essence of the plan, as long as you are in line with the principles".

He pledged to continue cooperating and working "because we know that there is only one Cyprus", noting that if this condition continues, "in the long run the whole of Cyprus will face an increasing number of difficulties".

Invited to comment on press reports that the military in Turkey would try to stop Recep Tayyip Erdogan from making statements against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Izcan said "it is no secret that there is a power struggle going on in Turkey.''

Asked to comment on reports that a new revised UN plan will be submitted, Papadopoulos said he was not aware of these reports, adding that the least which the Greek Cypriot side can do is to get the opinion of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handiling of the Cyprus question)

Papadopoulos said he agreed with Izcan that what is important is our commitment to continue negotiations to change the Annan plan into a viable, functional solution.

The UN-led direct talks between Clerides and Denktash resumed this month as part of the effort by the UN to reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of February, based on Annan's revised plan submitted on December 10 last year.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.


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