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Lord Hannay sees momentous week ahead for Cyprus
2003-02-24 19:46:18

Nicosia, Feb 24 (CNA) - Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus, Lord David Hannay, said the offer made by his country regarding the British Bases on the island has the full support of the British government but did not wish to go into details.

He added that this was a ''very momentous week for Cyprus'', during which important decisions would be taken, either positively or negatively or by default.

Speaking after meeting the British envoy, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias said a solution should be acceptable by all so that the end result would be placed before the people in a referendum, which will be positive for the Greek Cypriot side.

Asked about the British proposal to return part of the Sovereign Bases Areas, Lord Hannay said, ''I have nothing to add to or to subtract from what is in the paper transmitted by the Secretary-General to the governments of Greece and Turkey and to Mr. (Rauf) Denktash and Mr. (Tassos) Papadopoulos and to Mr. (Glafcos) Clerides, which contains the nature of the offer which has been made by the British government'', he said.|

Confirming the reports, the British diplomat said it has ''the full support of the British government'' but it was not for him to delve any further into the matter here.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UK has agreed to cede part of the Sovereign Base Areas consisting of 45 square miles, equal to just under half of the total of the SBA, that the offer is included in the third part of the revised Annan plan and will be valid only if both sides on the island agree to the UN proposals.

Lord Hannay said, ''This is a very momentous week for Cyprus. This is a week in which some important decisions will be taken either positively or negatively or by default''.

He explained that ''by default I mean if decisions are not taken, opportunities get missed''.

''The British government is very helpful. We have invested quite a lot of effort, have made a contribution, which you are familiar with in the latest ideas put forward by the Secretary General, of our own, to the settlement of the problem which we hope will have a positive effect and we will be doing everything we can to help but it is not we who will be taking the decisions. The decisions will be taken by Cypriots, first by their leaders and then by their electorates who are faced with a referendum'', he said.

Furthermore, he said he fully agrees with Christofias that ''there is no point in having all this effort diplomatically if at the end of it the result is rejected in the two referendums'', adding that ''this is really vital''.

Christofias said ''there is a consensus of views (with Britain) that the Cyprus problem should be solved the soonest because it is high time''.

''Our view is that a move by the UN Secretary-General should be balanced and should take into consideration the interests of Cyprus and the two communities and not the interests of foreigners.

He said that, based on statements, the UN Secretary-General is coming to Cyprus ''determined to find a solution to the problem now''.

''We hope that he manages to do this, taking into consideration the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus'', Christofias said, adding that ''we are ready to continue the dialogue, to defend the fundamental principles'' with good will and determination for a Cyprus settlement.

Noting that the Greek Cypriot side has made many concessions during negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, Christofias said ''we are facing a persistence on unacceptable positions by Denktash'', adding that that Turkey, which is in a favourable position because of the war on Iraq, wants Cyprus only for strategic reasons.

The House President expressed the wish that the common efforts of the Secretary-General, Lord Hannay and all who are working for a Cyprus settlement, will reach a solution which will be acceptable by all because the end result will be placed in a referendum and ''we want the referendum to be positive for the Greek Cypriot side''.

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

CNA/AAG/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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