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Papadopoulos holds discussions in Athens on UN proposals
2003-02-24 19:33:23

by Maria Myles -- Athens, Feb 24 (CNA) -- Cyprus President-elect Tassos Papadopoulos has said that a memorandum which the UN have communicated to him has nothing to do with a revised UN proposal for a comprehensive solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

Speaking at Athens Plaza hotel, where he arrived last night at the start of a three-day working visit, Papadopoulos indicated he was not aware of any improved proposals, adding that he will see proposals when they are submitted, if they are submitted.

Replying to press questions, Papadopoulos said that unless there is a change in the Turkish side, there would be no political settlement in Cyprus.|

Papadopoulos had said earlier on that the UN had conveyed to him a memorandum with the contents of his discussions with the UN since his election to the presidency, 16 February.

Asked if UN ideas included in the memorandum reflected ideas in a revised UN proposal, Papadopoulos replied "the memorandum bears no relation to the proposal, it contains the discussions we have had."

Invited to say if UN Secretary-General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto had communicated to him a new package of ideas on thorny issues of the negotiations, the president-elect reiterated that he received a memorandum which contained the discussions he had with de Soto and the views the two sides (UN and himself) brought forward.

Asked if he was ready to negotiate anything the Secretary-General proposes, Papadopoulos replied "we have said right from the start that we are ready to negotiate anything, we seek negotiations."

Replying to a question about reported statements by the UN Secretary- General that there are improved proposals, Papadopoulos said "we shall see them when he comes to Cyprus, when he submits the plan, if he submits it."

He explained that during negotiations each side puts forward its own ideas and it is not known which of these ideas will be subsequently selected.

Asked if he was optimistic with developments as the timeframe for a solution is very tight, he replied "if the Turkish side changes its position and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash abandons his intransigence, then yes we can find a solution but if he does not change, then there will be no solution or at least there will be no viable solution."

On his discussions in Nicosia with US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston, Papadopoulos said that Weston had told him that any proposals would be balanced for both sides in Cyprus.

Annan is today in Turkey and arrives Tuesday in Athens, before flying on to Nicosia where he will stay for three to four days in a bid to make headway towards a negotiated settlement and possibly meet the deadline of 28 February for a solution.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

Papadopoulos will hold discussions at noon here today with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Earlier today he will have meetings with Greek President Costis Stephanopolous, and Greek Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis. In the afternoon he will meet Greek party leaders.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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