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National Council: Denktash's decision illegal
2003-04-22 12:28:28

Nicosia, Apr 22 (CNA) -- The political leadership unanimously described as ''illegal'' a decision by the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime to lift most restrictions on the movement of people to and from the island's northern Turkish-occupied areas and the southern government-controlled part of the Republic.

''This decision is illegal, it is an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from the negative stance of the Turkish side with regard to the UN peace effort to find a negotiated settlement. It aims to impress,'' Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides said today after a one-and-a-half-hour long extrordinary meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, comprising all eight parliamentary parties.

The Spokesman stressed that international law, international court decisions and UN resolutions branded the Denktash regime ''illegal'' and that the Turkish Cypriot regime is a local subordinate administration to Turkey, which occupies the island's northern third.

He said the government is ready to deal with the situation and pointed out that Cypriot citizens have the right to free movement throughout the territory of the Republic.

His comments come in response to statements from occupied Cyprus that the Turkish Cypriot regime will as of tomorrow allow Turkish Cypriots to visit the southern areas of the Republic for longer hours and with the minimum of arrangements and that Greek Cypriots, by presenting their passports, could visit the occupied areas.|

''We have always advocated unhindered movement throughout Cyprus and any arrangements in place now are there because of the continuing illegal occupation,'' Chrisostomides said, reiterating the government's resolve to work for a negotiated settlement to the benefit of all Cypriots.

Asked how the government would react if hundreds of Turkish Cypriots flood tomorrow the government-controlled part of the island, he said ''the authorities are ready to deal with any eventuality, we are taking all necessary measures and if tomorrow there is a need, then increased measures will be taken.''

Invited to say what the government would do if Greek Cypriots try to visit the occupied areas in their hundreds, the Spokesman said that the government cannot prevent any of its citizens from moving freely in the country.

''It is up to each individual to decide how to react and taken into account the restrictions imposed by the Turkish Cypriot regime and any other arrangements in place,'' he said.

Asked if there is a risk to see the regime recognised, should many Greek Cypriots go to the occupied north, the Cypriot official stressed that ''recognition of a state does not come from individuals, it comes from states, subjects to international law.''

''People can decide for themselves, the government is not prepared to give out orders,'' he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.



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