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President: Overwhelming majority of G/C side ready for talks
2003-05-23 13:38:06

Nicosia, May 22 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos declared here today ''the readiness and willingness of the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriot side for direct and substantive negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan to find a solution in accordance with the relevant decisions and the United Nations framework.''

Addressing the opening of the 28th Cyprus International Fair, Papadopoulos said the Annan plan ''is still on the table as are the improvements we have suggested in the document I have submitted to the UN Secretary General and the amendments that have become necessary following the signing of the Accession Treaty.''|

''These amendments have been proved feasible following the partial lifting of the restrictions which were imposed since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the continuing occupation. We have not put forward any other condition or prerequisite for negotiations, after the Hague meeting,'' Papadopoulos stressed.

He assured that these basic policy positions are well known, understood and appreciated by all parties involved in the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Papadopoulos reiterated his firm objective to celebrate on May 1st 2004 the official accession of a re-united Cyprus and the expectation of the government and the people that a reunited Cyprus will face the challenges before it.

He said he expected that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will share in an equitable way the benefits and opportunities to be accrued by EU accession.

He also noted that the partial lifting of restrictions which the occupation regime itself had put in place ''does not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, neither do any other steps which the occupation regime and Turkey are obliged to take and may take in order to comply with international law and their international obligations.''

Papadopoulos noted it was natural that the initiative for the lifting of measures related to the occupation could only come from the occupation forces since it is they who have imposed and maintain the occupation.

''Such things, however, are not even steps towards a solution. This is so because they constitute attempts to establish relations of good neighbourliness as if there were in Cyprus two separate, equal, and lawful state entities, because this is the current policy and goal of the occupation regime,'' President of the Republic said.

He stressed that ''this policy cannot be accepted and this attempt by Mr. Denktash will not succeed. Neither in Cyprus nor internationally. It is one thing to take steps towards a viable and workable solution and another to take steps for the sake of impressions and public relations'', Papadopoulos added.

Referring to this year's Cyprus International Fair, he noted that it is opening its gates at the historic juncture of the signing of the Accession Treaty of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union.

Papadopoulos expressed the belief and hope that in the new competitive European environment, the Republic of Cyprus will be able to play a major role in the Euro-Mediterranean Economic Partnership.

''Our aim and goal is to be a good partner and not a nuisance in the framework of the European Union,'' he noted and stressed that the State Fairs Authority can and should contribute even further to the common efforts to project the geographical, economic and technological comparative advantages of the Republic of Cyprus so as to turn Cyprus into a modern regional business center in many fields.

CNA/MK/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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