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Clerides: mandate belongs now to Papadopoulos
2003-02-17 16:42:41

Larnaca, Feb 17 (CNA) -- Outgoing Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said the mandate now belongs to the newly-elected President Tassos Papadopoulos but he pledged to offer him any help he wants.

Replying to questions at Larnaca Airport before departing for Brussels to attend tomorrow the European Council meeting on Iraq, Clerides said he believes the reason he lost the elections was because of the "people's desire for a change. The people's verdict is respected, and the change will take place", he said.

Clerides said on Tuesday morning in Brussels he will meet Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, current EU President, and will return to Cyprus the same evening.|

"The mandate belongs now to the president-elect and any help he asks of me I will grant it, but the negotiation (for a solution to the Cyprus problem) is not my issue anymore", Clerides said.

Invited to comment on reports that he would not attend again talks on the Cyprus problem, President Clerides replied that "elections took place in a democratic manner and the people decided that some change is necessary, and surely the one who will attend the talks should be the elected President of the Republic".

Asked if he had discussed the issue of accompanying the newly-elected President at the UN-led direct talks, he said the issue was not discussed in detail and he will meet Papadopoulos again on Wednesday morning.

"Surely, the new president will examine the proposals which the Turks submitted for alterations, our proposals and will read the minutes of the meetings to have a full picture of where we are", Clerides added.

Regarding his participation in the National Council, Clerides said the parties, which are represented in the House of Representatives, take part in the Council, therefore if the National Council invites him for briefing and views, he would gladly attend.

On his meeting this morning with UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, Clerides said de Soto thanked him for their cooperation and informed him about his trip to Turkey later today.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

CNA/ES/KN/EC/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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