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Annan peace plan still valid, says Secretary General
2003-04-04 10:00:37

by Apostolis Zoupaniotis-- New York, Apr 4 (CNA) -- UN Secretary General continues to believe that his peace proposal on a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus remains on the negotiating table, Greek National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has said, after meeting Kofi Annan here.

''Having talked to the Secretary General, I got the impression that he is strongly in support of his peace proposal and wants it to remain on the negotiating table so that when the time is ripe, this plan will continue to serve as a basis for negotiation to find a just, viable and workable settlement in Cyprus,'' Papantoniou said.|

He pointed out that Greece supports and will continue to support the Secretary General ''because we believe that the Cyprus solution passes through the UN.''

''Only the UN can guarantee the basic principles of democracy, freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice, which should be safeguarded through the system that would exist in a unified Cyprus,'' the minister said.

Papantoniou said that the Greek government greatly appreciates the efforts Annan has made.

''We were all disappointed by the collapse of the latest UN effort to find a settlement which was due to the intransigent positions of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who was unfortunately backed by Ankara. A big opportunity for a solution was missed, at least for now,'' the minister said.

He was referring to the deadlock in last month's peace talks in The Hague when Denktash refused to put to a referendum Annan's peace proposal, demanded radical changes to it and described it ''a crime against humanity.''

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has accepted the peace plan as a basis for negotiations, said he would put it to a referendum but asked that chapters relating to legal matters be completed and that the people are sufficiently informed about its contents before they vote on it.


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