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Simitis: ''Elections'' in north will determine developments
2003-09-16 18:36:22

by Maria Koniotou

Athens, Sep 16 (CNA) - The result of the so called "elections" in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus will be decisive as far as developments on Cyprus problem are concerned, said here Tuesday Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, adding however that the governments of Cyprus and Greece are working on what exists today which is the negative stance of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side.

He was speaking during a press conference with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos who spoke of a positive response from overseas as regards to a Cyprus settlement, in efforts by Cyprus and Greece to promote a solution.

Simitis said that Turkey will use everything possible to secure a date to start accession negotiations with the EU in December 2004, not excluding the possibility of pursuing a solution to the Cyprus problem at "the last moment".

The Greek Premier also pledged Cyprus and Greece's commitment to the UN procedure for a Cyprus solution.

Simitis told the press that the two governments "have common views on the peace procedure and the completion of the island's accession to the EU process".

The Greek Premier announced Papadopoulos would pay an official visit to Greece in autumn at the invitation extended to him earlier today by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos.

Simitis said "the main aim remains to secure a viable solution (to the Cyprus problem), which will be fair and functional, based on the UN decisions and the acquis communautaire".

The Prime Minister said the UN General Assembly meeting this month in New York would be a chance to project the positions of the two countries.

Simitis said "Mr. Denktash's intransigence continues and Ankara fully supports him. The forthcoming "vote" in the occupied areas on December 10 will clarify the scene in relation to further developments".

During the "elections" which are constitutionally illegal, Simitis added, "a similar 'governing' body as today's may emerge that will rule the occupied territories, or there may be a different one".

"That's crucial for determining developments,'' he added.

However, he said the two governments are not investing on that. "We are working based on what we have at the moment which is the negative stance of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side and we are trying to overcome it in a way as to proceed with a solution to the Cyprus problem".

On his part, President Papadopoulos said today's visit to Athens was part of the frequent contacts between the two governments "for the proper evaluation of developments and determining further action".

Expressing his satisfaction over the meeting in Athens, Papadopoulos said "I am glad because in this effort it seems we have a positive response from other factors overseas which are related to a Cyprus settlement".

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

Papadopoulos wrapped up his visit to the Greek capital with a meeting with opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis. He returns to the island later this evening.

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