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Clerides not to participate permanently in National Council
2003-02-17 16:44:00

Nicosia, Feb 17 (CNA) - Outgoing Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will be at the disposal of newly-elected President Tassos Papadopoulos anytime he needs him but will not participate in the regular meetings of the National Council, top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus problem.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, replying to questions at the Presidential Palace about the intentions of Glafcos Clerides, said ''the President will be at the disposal of the new President for meetings and to express any view asked of him''.

''However, as Mr. Clerides, from the day his term in office expires (28 February 2003), will be a private individual it would not serve any purpose for him to participate in the National Council on a permanent basis'', Papapetrou said.|

Asked if the postponement of today's meeting in the context of UN-led negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem meant that the process would be delayed, Papapetrou said one meeting less did not mean a delay.

He said things could proceed and that Glafcos Clerides' intention was for the negotiations to be continued by the new President.

Replying to questions regarding the forthcoming visit to Cyprus of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Papapetrou said that Glafcos Clerides' term in office officially ends on February 28 and that ''maybe Mr. Papadopoulos will want to be accompanied by President Clerides, maybe not'', noting that ''this is something Mr. Papadopoulos will decide''.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were engaged in UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem. Kofi Annan is expected to arrive in Cyprus on February 26, two days before the deadline he set for a settlement expires.


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