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Denktash says his ideas could initiate dialogue on Cyprus
2003-04-02 14:39:44

Nicosia, Apr 2 (CNA) - Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said today he has sent a letter to President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos containing ideas he believed could initiate a process of dialogue and consultation, leading to a working relationship.

Denktash told a press conference today in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic that he believed the package could act as a catalyst for the realisation of a mutually acceptable comprehensive settlement, adding that the significance of the socio-psychological dimension of the Cyprus question has been overlooked for far too long.

He said he wrote a letter to President Papadopoulos today ''informing him that we have for too long overlooked the significance of the socio-psychological dimension of the Cyprus issue, and especially the deep crisis of confidence between the two sides.''

''Based on this assessment, I have suggested to him some ideas which I believe could initiate a process of dialogue and consultation, leading to a working relationship'', Denktash said, adding he believed the package ''could act as a catalyst for the realisation of a mutually acceptable comprehensive settlement.''|

Denktash proposes that ''as a first step, the fenced area of Varosha south of Dimokratias street, including the area extending to the UN buffer zone, will be transferred to the Greek Cypriot control to be opened for resettlement.''

''Parallel to this, all restrictions on overseas trade, transport, travel and cultural and sportive activities from or to both parts of Cyprus will be lifted. I am convinced that Turkey and Greece will also positively respond to this by removing the restrictions, which they apply to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides respectively. We shall invite the UN and the EU to acknowledge and give effect to these arrangements,'' he added.

He said ''the freedom of movement will be facilitated between the two sides, subject only to minimal procedures'' and that ''the restrictions on the movement of tourists will also be lifted.''

''Steps will be taken gradually for the normalisation of the flow of goods between the two parties on the island. Cooperation shall also be encouraged between the institutions of both sides to identify and develop joint projects,'' he added.

Denktash said ''the Turkish Cypriot side will lift the measures regarding the movement of UNFICYP of July 2000.''

Furthermore, he suggests that ''a bilateral reconciliation committee will be established with the objective of promoting understanding, tolerance and mutual respect between the two parties,'' noting that ''this committee will make specific recommendations for promoting bilateral contacts and projects.''

''These ideas and suggestions constitute an integrated whole and I am convinced that their implementation, while greatly enhancing the prospect of a mutually acceptable comprehensive settlement based on the political equality of the two sides, would bring significant tangible benefits to both parties,'' the Turkish Cypriot leader told the press.

He added ''it is understood that the acceptance and implementation of the package will neither prejudice the respective positions of the two sides, nor will it be a substitute to a final settlement''.

''I am also prepared to discuss with the Greek Cypriot side the subject as to how we could benefit from the assistance of the UN and the EU in the implementation of the proposed ideas and package,'' he said.

Denktash noted that he has informed President Papadopoulos that ''I am ready to talk with him the core issues of a comprehensive settlement, and matters related to EU membership, with the objective of reaching a mutually satisfactory conclusion.''

He added that he has also written to the UN Secretary General about his ideas and suggestions, ''since both sides support the good offices mission.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

UN-led talks ended in a deadlock in March after Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declined a UN suggestion to put to a referendum the peace proposal.


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