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Papadopoulos: National Council to handle any challenge
2003-02-22 16:58:06

Nicosia, Feb 22 (CNA) ? Newly-elected president of the Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos said the positions of the Turkish side do not allow any room for negotiations, stressing that without negotiations between the two sides it is difficult to expect developments.

In an interview with the Athens News Agency, (ANA) Papadopoulos expressed the view that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will want to evaluate the prospects of a new revised plan being accepted before submitting it.

He said the Greek Cypriot side is used to being in a "tight spot" but through "the collective functioning of the National Council and in a climate of consensus we will handle any dilemma and challenges".

Commenting on the negative attitude of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash against his election, Papadopoulos said that Denktash has handled in the same manner, all previous presidents of the Republic therefore he did not anticipate a different approach.|

Regarding Turkish Cypriots, Papadopoulos told ANA "I have a genuine intention to continue efforts for a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, for the benefit of all the people of Cyprus".

He said "we are not negotiating to secure more benefits for the Greek Cypriots but because we want to reach a settlement which will secure the interests of both communities and last long".

If the other side comes forward in the same spirit "then negotiations will be easy", Papadopoulos told the Athens News Agency.

Papadopoulos said that the knowledge and expertise of outgoing President Glafcos Clerides are necessary for both him and the island and he is glad that Clerides replied positively in offering his services, within the framework of the National Council.

He further stressed the significance of the close cooperation between Cyprus and Greece and assured it will be strengthened.

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

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