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Decision to take into account interests of Cyprus, says President
2003-03-05 16:53:05

Larnaca, Mar 5 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side will decide on holding a referendum on a UN peace proposal taking into consideration primarily the interests of the people of Cyprus and specifically the interests of the Greek Cypriots, President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed here today.

Speaking on his way to Athens for a meeting with Greek prime minister Costas Simitis, Papadopoulos said the decision of the Turkish Cypriot side on the matter is relevant but it is not the determining factor as far as the Greek Cypriot side is concerned.

''We have told the UN Secretary General that we will be at The Hague to give him our response to his request. The main criterion for our decision will be the interests of the people of Cyprus and specifically the interests of the Greek Cypriots,'' he said.

The President was speaking as he prepares for a crucial meeting tomorrow in Athens with Simitis and in anticipation of a second meeting of the National Council on Saturday, before Monday's encounter with Annan at The Hague.

Annan has invited the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to go to The Hague to tell him if they are prepared to put to a referendum on 30 March his peace plan for a comprehensive settlement.|

The President said the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question, will decide on the matter and the decision will be conveyed to Kofi Annan on Monday.

Replying to questions, Papadopoulos said that security is an issue of primary concern for the Greek Cypriots.

Asked if there is sufficient time to fill in the gaps in the peace plan, relating to issues on which there is no agreement yet, he said the process to fill in the gaps can continue until March 25 and added ''at this stage it is generally acknowledged that if we had more time the UN document would be more complete.''

The President returns from Athens tomorrow evening.

CNA GS/MM/2003

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