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Agreement on security would send correct signals, says FM
2003-02-07 09:45:16

Nicosia, Feb 7 (CNA) -- A positive response from Turkey to a UN call for agreement on security concerns would send the appropriate signals to the Turkish Cypriot leader with regard to a settlement in Cyprus, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said.

The minister said that a new version of a UN peace plan could be the last move of the recent increased engagement in Cyprus by the international community.

Kasoulides also said that any changes to a UN peace proposal on a comprehensive settlement in Cypruus cannot tip the balance in favour of one or the other side.

''The call by the Secretary General to Greece and Turkey to discuss security matters in the context of a settlement is a serious development,'' Kasoulides said, on his departure for an official visit to Lebanon, when invited to comment on Kofi Annan's letter to Athens and Ankara to press on with the urgent need for an agreement on security.|

A positive response to this invitation by Turkey, he said, ''would signal its readiness to deal with the Cyprus question and the UN plan, and this would send the appropriate messages to Denktash that it is his turn to tackle and face up to his responsibilities.''

''We shall have to wait and see what happens in the next few days,'' he said.

Asked if the Greek Cypriot side might be faced with a dilemma to either accept or reject a new peace proposal, Kasoulides said the Secretary General cannot assume the role of ''arbitrator or mediator and put us before such a dilemma.''

''A revised peace plan could be the last attempt in the intense activity at UN headquarters related to Cyprus, such as the presence Alvaro de Soto and his team on the island, in Ankara and Athens,'' the minister said.

Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, and his team of legal and other experts, have been on the island for over a year, engaged in the latest peace effort.

Kasoulides said it was up to the UN to decide whether to submit another peace proposal or not.

On the prospect of changes to the UN plan, Kasoulides said de Soto and others have said that there cannot be any changes to the philosophy of the document.

''If there is a change which appears to meet the concerns of one side, then there must be a change that meets the concerns of the other side,'' he explained.

Referring to his meetings in Lebanon, he said he would aim to arrange for official visits to all neighbouring countries after this month's presidential elections with a view at sounding out their views on a possible war against Iraq.

CNA MM/ΚΝ/2003

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