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Spokesman says Turkey presenting conflicting policy
2003-03-03 11:13:04

Nicosia, Mar 3 (CNA) - Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides announced here today that the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question, will meet Wednesday morning to assess the situation and discuss a UN request to hold a referendum on a peace plan for a comprehensive settlement, proposed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Spokesman said that President Tassos Papadopoulos would be leaving for Athens Wednesday evening for consultations with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, and would return home on Thursday.

Chrysostomides said that Turkey is sending conflicting messages about its policy on Cyprus, with some expressing the desire for a political settlement and others backing the intransigent positions of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

The Spokesman, speaking at his first press briefing after assuming office, said the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to a UN request to hold a referendum on a peace plan for a comprehensive settlement will be taken on the basis of decisions the National Council takes and irrespective of what the Turkish side says or does.|

He also said that political parties comprising the National Council should inform the people of Cyprus about the peace plan according to their positions.

His comments came only days after Annan had asked the two sides in Cyprus to go to The Hague on Monday to tell him whether they will put to a referendum for approval a peace plan he presented them with last week, during his three-day working visit here.

Asked what the government could expect from the Turkish Cypriot side at The Hague, Chrysostomides said that ''there is a conflicting policy from Turkey, we have Tayyip Erdogan (leader of ruling party) trying to convince us that the Turkish government wants a solution in Cyprus and on the other hand we have his Foreign Minister expressing support for Denktash's policy.''

Replying to questions about any fallout on the Greek Cypriot side from a possible rejection of the UN plan by the Turkish Cypriot side, the Spokesman said there would be none, adding that President Tassos Papadopoulos had said that the decision of the Greek Cypriot side would be taken on the basis of the deliberations and the decisions of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President.

''If the Turkish side decides in the meantime to reject the Annan plan, this will certainly affect the future course of the negotiations on the basis of the timeframe as this has been defined,'' he said.

Invited to say whether a ''yes'' response to Annan's request would commit the government to backing the peace plan ahead of the March 30 referendum, Chrysostomides said ''the government is not involved in the negotiations, it is a matter for the Greek Cypriot community and the parties that comprise the National Council.''

''I would imagine that, depending on the positions they adopt at the Council, political parties will have to inform the people accordingly,'' he added.

Replying to questions, he said the President has informed the Secretary General that he wishes to negotiate various aspects of his peace plan, noting that preparations for all issues pertaining the plan is underway.


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