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Cyprus: UN report must allocate responsibility
2003-03-14 17:45:39

By Maria Myles -- Nicosia, Mar 14 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side expects that a UN report on year-long peace talks will allocate blame where it is due and will express UN resolve to continue being seized by the search for a political settlement in Cyprus, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides has said.

He also said the government will explore all possibilities to ensure that the peace effort continues with a view at reuniting the island before it officially accedes to the European Union in May 2004.

''The government expects the report will clearly allocate responsibility to where it belongs,'' the spokesman told CNA in an interview, days after the latest UN peace effort collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday, in The Hague, where the UN and others failed to convince Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to agree to holding a referendum on a peace proposal.

Expressing regret at the outcome of the talks, the spokesman said the Turkish Cypriot leader was fully backed by Ankara during the negotiations in The Hague on Monday, which through its prime minister elect Tayyip Erdogan changed its tune on Cyprus, reversing earlier positions it had adopted.

Questioned further on the report, to be submitted to the Security Council by Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto who conducted the talks, Chrisostomides said that the government hopes that ''the Council and Kofi Annan apart from allocating responsibility will continue to be seized by the problem along the lines followed so far by the Security Council.''

''If fundamental issues are reopened in relation to a new process, the Greek Cypriot side reserves the right to put forward its positions,'' he said.

Asked how the government would act to meet its commitment to continue the peace effort for a settlement, he said ''we will explore all possibilities through the UN, the good offices of Secretary General Kofi Annan to achieve continuation of the negotiations.''

He said the government would also explore ''other avenues available through the European Union in the context of the UN efforts'', stressing that any future talks should take place under the aegis of the UN Secretary General.

Replying to questions, he said future peace talks will be on the basis of the Annan plan, adding that this plan is on the table.

Referring to what happened in The Hague, the Cypriot official told CNA that the Greek Cypriot side gave a definite ''yes'' to holding a referendum in response to the Secretary General's request, a position that is in line with the steadfast desire of President Tassos Papadopoulos as well as the political leadership for a speedy solution.

Chrisostomides said that the President stressed that the solution should be immediately functioning in accordance with the Annan plan and to this effect he pointed out a number of issues emanating from the plan and strictly within its parameters which would respond to the need to putting into effect immediately the new state of affairs.

The points President Papadopoulos raised relate to the completion of the basic and important legislation in the plan which would give the state an immediate framework of good start as well as preparation of the constitutions of the component states which should be compatible with the constitution as included in the Annan plan.

At the talks on Monday in The Hague, President Papadopoulos explained that the lack of cooperation on the part of Denktash to fill the gaps in the plan, repeatedly mentioned by UN officials, would mean ''a lame start'' of the state and would lead to conflict in the form of recourses to the Supreme Court on day one of the new state of affairs.

The spokesman said that during The Hague talks, Papadopoulos, as agreed with the UN, pointed out that all security arrangements between the guarantor powers should be agreed and established prior to the referendum as provided for the UN peace plan.

''The attitude of Turkey from an early stage was negative on this issue despite repeated invitations by Greece to meet and agree on this issue,'' the spokesman said.

Chrisostomides recalled that the UN had pointed out that ''lacking an agreement on this issue, there could not be any question of holding a referendum.''

He said that the effort of the Greek Cypriot side was to secure success of the eventual referendum by putting to the citizens a complete plan which the political leadership could put forward clearly to the voters and be in a position to advocate its acceptance.

The Cypriot official told CNA that the Turkish Cypriot leader's reply to the UN call for a referendum was an immediate no. Denktash told Annan that he had made this view known to him before The Hague talks.

''It is obvious that his position was supported by Turkey'', the spokesman said, recalling statements by Turkish premier-elect Tayyip Erdogan that the UN had duped the Turkish Cypriot side and that the Annan plan cannot be accepted.

Denktash wanted to effect radical changes to the plan, did not agree to the overall philosophy and structure of the plan and remained stuck to his well known positions for separate statehood, sovereignty and ethnic purity of the two component states of Cyprus that would emerge from the negotiations.

Replying to questions, the spokesman said the Turkish Cypriot side maintained a negative stance during the last part of the UN effort to achieve a revision of the timetable by agreeing on four paragraphs.

Expressing regret and disappointment for the collapse of the talks, the spokesman said that this was due entirely to the responsibility of Denktash.

''We assure our Turkish Cypriot compatriots that the efforts for a solution will continue, even after the signing of the Accession Treaty so that a reunited Cyprus is achieved for the benefit of all its citizens, within the European family,'' he said.|

CNA MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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