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Clerides says Annan plan not accepted as it stands
2003-02-05 16:34:13

Nicosia, Feb 5 (CNA) - Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides clarified here Wednesday that reports by the illegal ''Bayrak'' radio station in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic that he has accepted the revised Annan plan for a Cyprus settlement as it stands are not true.

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting here with the UN Secretary- General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who said he was going to New York over the next few days to brief Kofi Annan at the request of the UN chief himself.

Invited to comment on a ''Bayrak'' report that Clerides has accepted the Annan plan as it stands, the President said he had not and wondered how it could be said he had accepted the plan when he has submitted amendments to it.

Noting that the report was ''distorted'', President Clerides said that during a discussion with Rauf Denktash, he had told the Turkish Cypriot leader that the latter was trying to escape from the substance of the Annan plan and align it with his positions. ''I said, if I do the same thing, then there will be no solution and we will be left with the Annan plan'', President Clerides said.

To a remark that Denktash called him ''intransigent'' and that the Greek Cypriot side is rejecting all points the Turkish Cypriot leader has submitted, Clerides said ''of course I rejected them because with the points he is raising he wants to put forward his position in a Cyprus settlement''.

The President also said that Denktash ''has never refused to discuss the territorial issue, he has refused to accept the map, but he has not said what kind of amendments he wants''.

Asked if the Turkish Cypriot leader was using delaying tactics, the President replied positively, noting that nothing new came out of today's meeting between them within the framework of UN-led talks to reach a settlement.

Speaking after the meeting, de Soto told reporters he was ''going to New York to see the Secretary-General'' because Kofi Annan ''wants to see me''. He added Annan was ''very interested'' in what is going on.

The UN envoy said he would be coming back to the island ''very soon''. Asked whether he would be bringing a revised plan with him, the Peruvian diplomat said ''I don't know what I will come back with''.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. President Clerides and Denktash are currently engaged in UN-led talks, held in the presence of de Soto and aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement by February 28, a target date set by Annan in his revised peace plan, submitted to the two sides in December 2002.


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