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President Papadopoulos appeals to Turkish side to heed people's message
2003-04-30 17:08:29

Nicosia, Apr 30 (CNA) - Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos called on the Turkish side to respond positively to the message of the people and take measures that will improve the prospects of an effective negotiation of the Cyprus problem, when those resume.

In a statement issued Wednesday after the government announced a package of measures to support Turkish Cypriots, President Papadopoulos further appealed to the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to make use of the partial freedom of movement that has been allowed as well as the measures announced today and continue to point out the unacceptable situation of the division.

He also asked them not to give validity to the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas with their actions and attitude and show that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live together in a common country, during a solution that will restore the unity of the state through the European Union which will respect the democracy and human rights of all, without discrimination.

Referring to the measures announced earlier in the day, Papadopoulos said these were prepared a long time ago but their implementation was postponed, as some required further negotiations with the European Union and other factors.

He explained that the collapse of the Cyprus peace talks at The Hague earlier this year was due to the intransigent stance of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, and noted that the popular uprising of the Turkish Cypriots and the signing by Cyprus of the Accession Treaty with the EU ''created conditions which required the formulating of a new policy for Turkish Cypriots who live in the occupied areas''.

Papadopoulos reiterated that Turkish Cypriots are legitimate citizens of the Republic and should know and share the benefits and advantages, which derive from accession and Cyprus' participation in various development and other EU projects.

''Until Cyprus' reunification and an end of the occupation which has been imposed by Turkey, the government will make every possible effort, within the state's economic capability and to the extent allowed by the occupation regime and our obligations to the EU'', to allow Turkish Cypriots equally to enjoy all the benefits with the rest of the citizens of Cyprus, Papadopoulos added.

Under these circumstances, he said, the government, following deliberations with the National Council, ''is charting a complete policy for Cyprus' reunification in which its policy on Turkish Cypriots will have a leading role''.

Referring to the easing of restrictions on freedom of movement, imposed by the Denktash regime, Papadopoulos said that the spontaneous, unprompted and very friendly behaviour of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in their recent contacts proved they can live together in a reunited country rejecting Denktash's allegations that for the safety of both communities the presence of occupation forces is obligatory.

''We condemn the exploitation by the occupation regime of the desire of the people to move freely in their country, in an effort to achieve political benefits by demanding the presentation of passports and the issuing of 'visas' by the occupation regime'', Papadopoulos said, noting the occupation regime's pursuit to reinforce the secessionist entity can only be denounced and described as ''futile''.

Papadopoulos said the measures announced today are not associated with efforts to solve the Cyprus problem but try ''to improve the general political climate in Cyprus and contribute to the level possible in developing contacts and relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots''.

''These measures and the measure to partially lift restrictions in freedom of movement by the occupation regime cannot substitute efforts to solve the Cyprus problem'', he added.

''Our position remains that a solution to the Cyprus problem should be pursued within the framework of the UN, under the Secretary General's auspices and according to the Security Council resolutions and Rauf Denktash's efforts to create the impression that there are 'good neighbourly relations' is not the solution''.

Papadopoulos said the UN Secretary General's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem remains on the negotiating table and repeated his appeal to Denktash, included in his letter to the latter dated 2 April 2003, to accept the continuation of the negotiations based on the Annan plan to find a solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest, based on the Security Council resolutions.

The President of the Republic appealed to the Turkish side ''to respond positively to the message of the people and take measures which only it (the Turkish side) can take that will contribute to improving prospects for an effective negotiation of the Cyprus problem, when negotiations resume''.

''We therefore call on the Turkish side to place the town of Famagusta under UN command, according to Security Council resolutions, for its reconstruction and return to its legitimate inhabitants'', Papadopoulos said.

He also urged the Turkish side ''to immediately begin the gradual withdrawal of the Turkish occupation forces and settlers from the occupied areas, with the aim to fully demilitarise Cyprus''.

Papadopoulos further called on the Turkish side to take ''all necessary measures to fully implement the Third Vienna Agreement of 1975 on the enclaved'', to immediately implement the agreement of 31st July 1997 between former President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash on the missing persons and to re-operate the missing person's investigative committee. He also called for the immediate start of restoration and repairs of churches, cemeteries and other religious and archaeological monuments in the occupied areas.

The President finally appealed to the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, ''to make use of the partial freedom of movement that has been allowed as well as the measures announced today and continue to point out the unacceptable situation of the division''.|

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

CNA/EC/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
30/04/2003

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