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President: Discussions on measures must not replace negotiations
2003-05-05 16:11:33

Limassol, May 4 (CNA)--- President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos has warned that any appeal at present for a resumption of the UN-led peace talks would be tantamount to leading negotiations on the substance of the problem to discussions on confidence building measures.

The President recalled that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has told both sides in Cyprus very clearly that he wants them to indicate to him their readiness to put his peace proposal to a referendum without reopening its basic principles or essential trade offs.

''Any appeal now for the resumption of talks means that negotiations on the Cyprus problem would degenerate into discussions on confidence building measures instead of negotiations on the issue itself. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who maintains that the solution in Cyprus is to agree on measures of good neighbourliness between two independent ‘states’, wishes to see negotiations on the substance of the problem be replaced by discussions on confidence building measures,” President Papadopoulos said.|

He said that “the Secretary General has told us very clearly that in order to begin a new initiative he wants us to give him indications that we are ready to accept his plan on a comprehensive settlement as it is and fix a day for a referendum on it.”

Invited to comment on the crossings to and from the occupied areas of Cyprus, following the easing of restrictions on free movement by the Turkish Cypriot regime, the President noted it is up to the individuals to decide whether they want to enter occupied Cyprus or not.

''For 30 years now, the state has been consistently demanding free movement without any restrictions and thus it cannot undermine its own policy by prohibiting free movement'', he stressed.

He also noted that Denktash cannot claim that he promotes free movement when he prohibits Greek Cypriots from staying in houses or other private premises.

The regime in the island’s occupied areas decided this week to allow Greek Cypriots to stay overnight (for three subsequent nights) in occupied Cyprus but said overnight stay must be at local hotels, many of which are owned by Greek Cypriots but are now being usurped by Turks or Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


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