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Vassiliou and Durduran agree on need for Cyprus settlement
2003-05-29 13:46:36

Nicosia, May 29 (CNA) - President of Greek Cypriot United Democrats Movement George Vassiliou and leader of Turkish Cypriot Movement of Patriotic Unity Alpay Durduran met today in Nicosia and agreed on the need for a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.

Vassiliou said the easing of restrictions on the free movement of citizens on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side and measures to support the Turkish Cypriots on behalf of the government were welcome but did not constitute a settlement. Durduran stressed that the Turkish Cypriots want a solution this year and noted that the current situation was not stable.|

Describing the current stage as ''crucial'', Durduran said ''we are both happy about the developments, we both welcome the new freedom and the real opportunities are very good for people to communicate, to come together and join forces''.

He noted that the Turkish Cypriots ''want the reunification of the country, of the people, they want an early solution'', adding that they ''have some opportunities but it is not enough and they are very much aware that they have to fight to shorten the time for the solution''.

''The present situation looks stable but it is not stable. We do not want to live it too long. We see some dangers in it and we have to warn everybody that they have to fight for a solution of the Cyprus problem'', he added.

Referring to yesterday's meeting of the Turkish National Security Council, Durduran said ''it seems that Turkey has doubts about the situation in Cyprus and they could not reach an accord on Greco-Turkish relations''.

''We need a solution, we need it this year, we have to fight for it, and we have to join forces to pressure our administrations to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem. The measures can increase the possibilities but we cannot replace a solution with them. The solution is a must and only a solution can make everything stable'', he noted.

Vassiliou said the meeting was held ''in a friendly spirit'' and focused on the easing of restrictions on free movement and that ''this does not constitute a solution''.

''It is a small step in forming the right climate and it is important that we move ahead to substantive negotiations based on the Annan plan'', he added.

Vassiliou noted that ''for substantive negotiations, the Turkish Cypriot side's stance must change, that is it must abandon the demand for two sates'', adding that ''we believe it is important that the image we project outwards is that we are ready to negotiate on the Annan plan and not focus on the changes we would like to bring about so that we do not give the impression that we do not agree with the substance of the plan''.

He added that continuous violations of the Greek airspace by Turkish fighters did not contribute to forming a climate to restart negotiations on Cyprus and contradict gestures of goodwill.

Vassiliou said he discussed with Durduran the government's measures to support the Turkish Cypriots and the measures expected early next month by the EU.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest effort to reach a settlement based on a plan put forward by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan collapsed due to the stance of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Last month, the Turkish occupation regime announced the easing of restrictions on free movement.


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