Cypriot President: No chance for settlement with Denktash
by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
New York, Sep 24 (CNA) -- With Rauf Denktash being the representative of the Turkish Cypriot side there is no possibility for a Cyprus settlement, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, told the press here yesterday.
Answering a question on the possible monitoring of the ''elections'' in the Turkish-occupied north, Papadopoulos said the issue is what observers could do, adding that fraudulence has already taken place since thousands of settlers have been included in the electoral list.
Replying to another question Papadopoulos reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's will for a Cyprus settlement before May 1st, 2004, when Cyprus will become a full member of the EU.
Papadopoulos said he is not concerned which leadership will come out of the ''elections'' in the occupied north. ''What matters is if there will be a new leadership that will express the Turkish Cypriots' will in such a way that Ankara will be able to say if it really wants to remove Mr. Denktash, that he does not any longer represent Turkish Cypriots. But I don't think there is a chance to find a settlement with Mr. Denktash'', he remarked.
The Cypriot President recalled that Denktash has declared the Annan plan "dead" and noted that any other political leader offers the hope that he may be different as regards his approach and Denktash's so-called vision.
''With Mr. Denktash there is no hope, according to his own statements of finding a solution. So anything else at least presents the hope that they may have a different view, but the key to that is what Ankara wants,'' Papadopoulos said.
Asked whether there is contradiction between Denktash's and Ankara's stance on Cyprus, the Cypriot President said ''the stance of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash does not contradict the stance of the Turkish government, on the contrary all the official statements of the Turkish government coincide fully and support fully the positions of Mr. Denktash.''
Papadopoulos, who will address tomorrow the 58th session of the UN General Assembly, has already met with America's Archbishop Demetrios and attended a reception hosted by US President George Bush for the heads of states or governments, who are in New York for the UN General Assembly.
Today Papadopoulos will hold meetings with US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston and the UN Secretary General's special advisor for Cyprus Alvaro De Soto.
He will also have meetings with Prime Minister of Malta Edward Fenech, President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, President of Senegal, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, and the Board of Editors of the New York Times.
Referring to his planned meetings here with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Alvaro de Soto he said they would focus on Annan's peace plan.
''I will reiterate our well known position that we are ready to resume negotiations, with no preconditions, when the Secretary General invites us. We have raised some points concerning the Annan plan, which are already known and which I handed over to him in writing when he came to Cyprus. I reiterated them in The Hague and they have never been withdrawn,'' he added.
Papadopoulos said the amendments the Greek Cypriot sides wants on the plan are within the parameters of the plan and aim at making the plan more functional and thus more viable.
The Cypriot President underlined that ''amendments will make our participation in the various EU institutions more effective and more normal and this is in the benefit of Turkish Cypriots as well since it seems that the common will of both sides and the majority of the people is an effective participation in the EU. We want to be a productive and useful member of the EU and not an annoying partner,'' he added.
President Papadopoulos will also discuss with Kofi Annan and other UN officials the question of the missing persons, the living conditions of the enclaved people and various problems in Cyprus the UN can help to solve.
Papadopopoulos said priority will be given to the demining issue, a proposal put forward by the Cyprus government two years ago and concerns the minefields in the government-controlled areas, near the buffer zone and within the buffer zone.
''For these minefields we need the help and solidarity of the UN. If there is no response by the Turkish Cypriot side we will demine our minefields unitarily,'' Papadopoulos said.