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Party leaders give Simitis a strong message for a solution
2003-04-20 16:03:41

Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot party leaders have expressed to Greek Prime Minister and president of the European Council Costas Simitis their political will to see the Cyprus question settled.

Speaking after a 90-minute long meeting here today with party leaders from both sides of the divide, Simitis said he would convey this message to his EU partners and others to maintain the momentum for a solution.

''There is common will to solve the problem along the lines indicated by the UN peace proposal Secretary General Kofi Annan has submitted to the two sides in Cyprus for a comprehensive settlement,'' Simitis said.

Describing his meeting as ''very interesting'' he noted that this was the first time a Greek premier and an EU president has met with Turkish Cypriot leaders who oppose Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

He said it was clear to him that there is the political will on the part of his interlocutors to proceed with a solution.

''The views of the Turkish Cypriots in opposition and all the Greek Cypriots coincide and it is that they all want a solution, we need this to see Cyprus move ahead united and use all opportunities available, within the EU,'' he said.

He said this message was communicated to him ''loud and clear.''

Simitis told the press that a large part of the Turkish Cypriot community sees that progress towards a solution is not possible unless the division is overcome and unless a new situation is created, and added that the basis of this situation is the Annan plan.

The plan, he reiterated, needs to be completed, it needs corrections, amendments and discussion to make it more workable but it is a basis for negotiations.

The Greek premier acknowledged that views may differ now on one or another point but there is common will to solve the problem on the course indicated by the Annan plan.

''I think this is very important and I will convey this to our partners, to the EU to keep the momentum to a high degree and discuss matters in order to reach an arrangement that would meet everybody's expectations,'' Simitis said.|

CNA EC/MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

19/04/2003

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