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Christofias conveys concerns to Weston over new plan
2003-02-22 17:09:43

Nicosia, Feb 22 (CNA) ? House President Demetris Christofias, expressed concern over a new revised plan by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, noting that the current climate favours Turkey and securing the interests of the Turkish military.

Christofias made the statement during a meeting with visiting US State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, who said that a new plan should be balanced to increase the chances of a settlement and a successful referendum.

The House leader said the two had a "very sincere conversation" where they reviewed the latest developments on Cyprus, concentrating on UN Annan's visit to the region.

"I have expressed my concern to Mr. Weston on what is being rumoured about a new revised plan, which will concentrate on meeting the concerns of the Turkish side. I have asked him and the US to exert their pressure so that any new move should be careful and not lead the people of Cyprus to make negative choices."

Christofias said "we want the UN Secretary-General's initiative to yield result in the direction of the interests of the two communities," he said and hoped Annan will move in the direction of the UN resolutions on Cyprus "enabling the people of Cyprus say the 'big yes' to a solution of the problem".|

Christofias said he told Weston the "international climate is such which favours Turkey" which has reached the point of blackmailing the US in regards the war in Iraq and its possible participation.

"What we are concerned about is that the military will try to secure their interests", he said.

On his part, Weston said he is not in a position to comment on what the UN Secretary-General will do this week, either in Ankara Athens or in Nicosia. "He will make decisions himself and they will become clear as the week evolves", he added.

However, the US diplomat said he made "it very clear that we are in agreement that in anything the SG does, in terms of working with the plan which is currently on the table, does require a balance" and that "it cannot be something which only moves in the direction of one side and still have any chance of increasing the chances of a settlement."

"It must remain what we think it is, a balanced document, and I am confident it will," he said.

Weston further said that they "had a very good discussion about why it is necessary that this plan remain a balanced in whichever way it might change and that is the importance of looking at the plan in terms of its acceptability in a referendum on the island."

"That nothing that the UN does, or that anyone of us seeking to assist the SG efforts will come to a good end, if it results in a situation in which it is rejected in a referendum", the American diplomat noted.

Invited to comment on his meeting this morning with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Weston said, "I think the way to describe those exchanges is very spirited, I think they were productive in terms of seeing some ways of moving ahead."

Asked if we are moving away from the deadline of 28 February, Weston replied "?we still believe a settlement is achievable by the 28th of February and we believe a referendum is achievable by the end of March. We believe that Cyprus will sign the (EU) Accession Treaty on 16th April".

To a question how this can be achieved, he replied, "through exceptionally vigorous work this week".

Weston will be leaving for Turkey tomorrow will be back later in the week to continue discussions on the island.

Kofi Annan is scheduled to arrive in Cyprus on 26 February and will remain on the island until the end of the month.

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


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