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Position of G/C side on referendum independent of T/C side's reply
2003-03-01 05:53:21

Nicosia, Mar 1 (CNA) ? The first official meeting of the Council of Ministers will be held next Friday, President of the Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos announced here Saturday, adding that he will ask the ministers to "set out their priorities and plans" which will be discussed at the Council.

Speaking to reporters before the affirmation ceremony of his cabinet, President Papadopoulos also said the completion of the island's accession to the European Union (EU) will take place, independent of developments on the Cyprus problem.

He also said the position of the Greek Cypriot side regarding a referendum on the third Annan plan on 30th March, will be formulated, independent of the Turkish Cypriot side's reply.|

On the choice of ministers, Papadopoulos said it was a matter of choosing those who can offer the most, under the circumstances and in agreement with the forces, which supported him to his election.

Regarding the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos said the position of the Greek Cypriot side on the referendum of 30th March on the UN Secretary-General's third plan would be formulated, independent of the reply of the other side.

However, he said the position of either side affects the other, but does not depend on it.

Asked if the members of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem) will accompany him in The Hague, Papadopoulos said the issue would be discussed next week during a Council meeting.

Invited to comment on a statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that his new plan was the last chance for a Cyprus settlement and to say whether there will be any danger to the island's accession to the European Union, if the Greek Cypriot side says "no" to a referendum, Papadopoulos replied "no", adding the "accession course is predetermined".

He referred to the 1999 Helsinki European Council decision, which dissociated the island's accession from the solution to the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus' accession, he added, will take place, independent of developments on the Cyprus problem.

Annan said yesterday, before leaving the island, that he expects the two leaders to arrive in The Hague to meet him, on 10th March, to tell him whether or not they would sign a commitment to submit the Foundation Agreement to approval at separate simultaneous referenda on 30 March in order to achieve

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


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