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Papadopoulos wants no vacuum in Cyprus peace talks
2003-02-17 16:47:31

Nicosia, Feb 17 (CNA) -- President-elect Tassos Papadopoulos said he does not want to see any vacuum in the ongoing UN-led peace talks with the Turkish Cypriot side, adding that outgoing President Glafcos Clerides remains the representative of the Greek Cypriot side to the talks until February 28, when he (Papadopoulos) will be sworn in as the new President of the Republic.

Speaking after his first meeting with Clerides since his electoral victory on Sunday, Papadopoulos said he asked Clerides to remain a member of the National Council, the top advisory body to the president on the Cyprus question.

Papadopoulos said he has already formed his negotiating team for the talks but refrained from giving any names.|

''My objective is to try and ensure that there is no vacuum in the negotiations.

I have asked the President to convene a National Council meeting as soon as possible,'' President-elect and Democratic Party leader Papadopoulos added.

Papadopoulos was elected on Sunday the fifth President of the Republic when he received 51.51 per cent of the vote, ousting his main rival Clerides who got 38.80 per cent.

''I asked the President to remain a member of the Council and I intend to make the best use of his experience, his knowledge and all he has done at the negotiating table so far,'' he said.

Papadopoulos said that Clerides promised that he would maintain very close cooperation with him with regard to the negotiations, an issue which the two will discuss further.

CNA AAG/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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