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Papadopoulos says developments not even near solution
2003-05-06 12:31:14

Rome, May 6 (CNA-ANA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that what is happening in Cyprus over the past few days is important but does not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, not even a significant step in that direction.

In an interview with Italian newspaper ''Corriere della Sera'', President Papadopoulos said that the people of Cyprus have proven that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can indeed live together but noted that a lot remains to be done. |

He also expressed the view that ''the Turks intend to use the Cyprus problem, postponing the solution, so as not to lose a trump card in negotiations for accession to the EU''.

''Many say that Turkey, the main aim of which is to accede to the EU, has an interest to favour a solution of the Cyprus problem. But everyone knows that Turkey could accede to the EU in five, seven, ten years, maybe more'', he said.

The newspaper publishes President Papadopoulos' interview under the title ''In Cyprus it is not enough for the wall to fall, reunification is needed, Mr. Papadopoulos accuses Turkey of wanting to use the island as an exchange for accession to the EU''.

Asked if the last wall of Europe has indeed fallen, President Papadopoulos said, ''what is happening is important but it is not the solution of the problem, not even a significant step'', adding, ''the people have proven that cohabitation is possible but a lot more is still needed''.

Referring to the measures the Cypriot government has announced to support Turkish Cypriots, the President said the measures had been prepared by the previous government and that shortly before they were made public, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash decided to take everyone by surprise and announce the easing of the restrictions on the free movement of people across the divide.

Asked if Denktash had heeded the will of the Turkish Cypriots, the President said the Turkish Cypriot leader ''followed mostly what Ankara asked rather than what the people wanted''.

Invited to say if the new Turkish government had changed its stance on the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said there was no such indication, noting that the will of Ankara and the Turkish military was needed before anything changed.

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


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