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Papadopoulos: our reply to the UN Secretaty-General will be clear
2003-03-06 16:14:29

Larnaca, Mar 6 (CNA) ? Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said here Thursday the Greek Cypriot side's reply to UN Secretary-General during their meeting at The Hague on Monday will be "clear", with views and positions.

Speaking on his return from the Greek capital, Papadopoulos said his talks today with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his close associates were "useful and constructive", noting "we have examined all alternatives and scenarios as well as the possible choices we have".

"The decision on what will happen, will of course be taken in Cyprus by the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem) ", Papadopoulos stressed.|

Explaining what he means about many scenarios, the President said that the Athens meeting examined "all possible situations, i.e. what might be the Turkish stance, which is our (the Greek Cypriot) stance, the views of the National Council, the views of both sides, and other".

Papadopoulos said the Greek Cypriot's side reply will not be "one-worded" but that "some discussion will take place to see" whether there is any room for improvement.

"Our position is, and remains, that we want negotiations to be held, in an effort to improve the provisions of the Annan plan. This does not mean re- negotiating all the provisions of the plan, but only those which will make it functional and therefore viable", he added.

The president said he will convey to the National Council the views of the Greek government "and the National Council will evaluate them and take final decisions".

Asked if the National Council will decide its final decision on Saturday during its next meeting or in The Hague, Papadopoulos said he has asked the members of the National Council to accompany him to the The Hague "so they can be there if anything arises, such as an invitation for further discussions, and to take decisions".

Everyone said 'yes', Papadopoulos said, but whether any decisions will be taken either here or in The Hague, that will be decided during the next meeting of the National Council".

"Our position will be clear. That is what the Secretary-General has asked us. It will not be merely one-worded but clear, together with our views", he said.

Invited to comment on statements from Turkey that the third Annan plan does not meet the basic expectations and concerns of the Turkish side, Papadopoulos reminded, "the Turkish positions are not new, they are well known. I should remind that the Secretary-General's invitation to the two sides is to travel to The Hague and reply with a 'yes' or 'no' after they have completed the negotiations each side wants", he added.

"A desire for negotiations, alone, is not sufficient because such negotiations should have a date of expiry as well as a foundation in which to be conducted", he said.

Papadopoulos said Athens's expectations are "to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, safeguarding the interests of the people of Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots".

Papadopoulos said he was not aware of Annan seeking additional negotiations at The Hague, noting this would be evident only after they arrive in The Netherlands.

Regarding the issue of security, Papadopoulos reminded that this issue is still pending between Turkey and Greece. "It was discussed during one meeting but since then, Turkey has not responded to Greece's repeated invitations to continue the discussions. The rights and procedures of the guarantor powers are being determined in the Annan plan", he added.

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

During his visit to Cyprus last month, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to travel to The Hague and 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 a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.


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