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Papadopoulos ready to continue for solution despite today's failure
2003-03-11 10:25:42

By Maria Myles -- The Hague, Mar 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tasssos Papadopoulos stressed here that inspite of today's failure to come to an agreement with the Turkish Cypriot side on holding referenda on a UN peace plan, he will continue his efforts to find a viable solution that will ensure the proper functioning of the state.

Speaking at a press conference early this morning, at the Peace Palace, the Cypriot president assured the Turkish Cypriots that he wishes to see wiser thoughts prevail so as all Cypriots can benefit from EU accession.

He also said that the changes Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash wanted to the UN peace proposal went far beyond the philosophy of the plan whereas his proposed amendments fell well within the parametres of the plan.

''I express sadness and disappointment that the efforts of many months the work done as well as the intensive talks here have ended in failure,'' President Papadopoulos told a packed room at the Peace Palace here at five in the morning after about 20 hours of intensive negotiations between the UN, the two sides in Cyprus and the three guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and Britain).

The Secretary General was very explicit, very specific as to what actually happened, he said, adding that ''on our side we gave our clear answer to the question he posed when he asked us to come here and say with a yes or no on whether we are ready to put his plan to a referendum.''

''Our reply was yes we are ready to do that as long as the documents required for the whole package were ready in time and in particular the legislation which related to the functioning of the government of the common state,'' Papadopoulos said.

The Cypriot President pointed out that according to the recognition of the Secretary General ''all the things we have asked were within the parametres and the overall Annan plan''

Denktash, he said, has stated repeatedly and more so early this morning and last night at the talks that he wanted to bring about radical changes to the whole philosophy and the foundation of the plan.

''I want to give an assurance that despite of this setback we will continue our efforts for reaching a solution to the Cyprus question both before and after Cyprus joins the EU and the fact that this setback here today is not going to put us outside the course of trying to find a solution outside the parametres of the Annan plan,'' he said.

Addressing himself to the Turkish Cypriots, he expressed the hope that second thoughts would prevail and that soon enough ''we would both build the foundation which will allow us to have a viable solution so that a unified Cyprus would be able to enjoy the benefits and the advantages which the accession will produce.''

Papadopoulos expressed thanks to the UN team which worked hard and intensively for many months in Cyprus and more specifically he thanked Kofi Annan for his ''unfailing efforts, patience and wisdom in trying to promote a solution.''

Replying to questions, he said that the Annan plan would still be at the table in the future, as his experience has shown that ideas and documents produced during negotiations seem to be always present.

''Nothing that is placed at the negotiating table goes away permanently,'' he said.

Papadopoulos said it is possible after a solution has been found for the EU Council to incorporate everything that is agreed in the accession agreement.

Commenting on the issue of security, in response to claims by Denktash that the Cypriot President wanted security concerns agreed before an overall agreement, Papadopoulos explained that he would like to see any treaty signed by the three guarantor and Cyprus implemented. ''We must have assurances that such an agreement is implemented,'' he said.

President Papadopoulos thanked the Greek delegation to the talks and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis for their support. |

CNA MM/GP/2003

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