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Accession victory for all people of Cyprus, Papadoupoulos says
2003-04-17 14:04:44

by Maria Koniotou-- Athens, Apr 17 (CNA) - This is not a victory for us and a defeat of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash but a victory for all the people of Cyprus, President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos told a press conference here today after the conclusion of the European Conference, referring to the signing of the Accession Treaty by Cyprus yesterday.

Invited to comment on the fact that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose country does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974, did not attend the signing ceremony, Papadopoulos said ''the Turkish delegation has the right to create problems for itself'', adding that ''this is a problem that concerns only Turkey and the EU and not us''. He also noted that he bumped into Gul this morning and that they shook hands.

As to the measures regarding the Turkish Cypriots the Cyprus government intends to implement, Papadopoulos said that they are measures aiming to reinforce Turkish Cypriots and give them the message that there is hope for them to share all benefits from Cyprus' accession. Furthermore, he expressed hope that they will be announced within the next ten days.

He explained that some of the measures would be implemented by the government itself, some would be examined in cooperation with the EU, in order to be in line with EU rules, and others could only be applied with the cooperation of Turkish Cypriots and Rauf Denktash.

Papadopoulos assured once again that the Cyprus government will not terminate efforts for a Cyprus settlement, noting that ''through the parameters of the Annan plan we will continue to exert pressure until Turkey changes its stance, because I believe that Denktash's intentions depend on Turkey, in order to find a solution through negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan''.|

''With the appropriate additions and amendments, as the paper we handed to Mr. Annan in The Hague, the Annan plan can become a basis for the settlement of the Cyprus problem, if the alternations that we want are made'', he added.

Asked about EU involvement in efforts for a settlement, Papadopoulos noted that ''the EU has repeatedly said that it is interested in a solution of the Cyprus problem but efforts for a solution are mainly on the UN''.

However, he said ''there is a series of continuous efforts to promote, in the form of a contribution, a settlement of the Cyprus problem'' and expressed the belief that the non-settlement of the Cyprus problem was not for the EU's functioning.

Invited to say if he was concerned Denktash's stance would be provocative, after the signing of the Accession Treaty, Papadopoulos said that Denktash cannot apply provocative measures without Turkey's consent and noted that if Turkey gives its consent to this then she would be creating problems for herself and hindering her course towards the EU.

Papadopoulos said he did not think that the Turkish side would take any measures that would jeopardise the maintaining of tranquillity and order on the island.

Invited by a Turkish Cypriot journalist to say how he felt during the signing of the Treaty, Papadopoulos reiterated his sadness that Turkish Cypriots could not join in the joy of signing the Accession Treaty. He also noted that ''it is to the benefit of the whole people of Cyprus that the Turkish Cypriots should join us in prosperity, peace and democracy''.

Invited to comment on the European Commission's diagnosis as regards the fields Cyprus needs to improve, President Papadopoulos said the Commission had identified four inadequacies.

He assured that as far as the inadequacies in administration are concerned, Cyprus' Chief Negotiator with the EU Takis Hadjidemetriou has prepared a programme and has set up a service to work hard to improve productivity and the administrative institutions.

As regards environment, he noted that measures will be taken to improve this field, adding that one of the government's goals is to set up an independent institution for the environment.

Cyprus signed the Accession Treaty yesterday, without having its political problem settled. Efforts by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in The Hague last month collapsed due to the intransigent stance of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

CNA/MK/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
17/04/2003

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