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Papandreou discusses Cyprus with UN chief
2004-02-03 19:15:23

By Christa Nicolaou

Athens, Feb 3 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou discussed over a telephone conversation on Monday night the latest developments in the Cyprus problem with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

According to Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Panagiotis Beglitis, Annan informed Papandreou on his recent meetings with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in Brussels and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Davos.

Beglitis said Papandreou assured Annan on the Greek Cypriot side's willingness to immediately resume negotiations on the Cyprus problem, based on the UN Secretary-General's peace plan.

Papandreou pointed out to Annan that changes will be required to make the plan he has submitted more functional and in line with the acquis communautaire.

He also stressed that it would be difficult for the Greek Cypriot side to agree to the conditions set out for the resumption of the talks since "we support a comprehensive settlement of the problem. For this reason, talks should begin and if there is an agreement on substantive issues, then the two communities can agree on formulating a political framework that will give the UN Secretary-General the ability to fill in the gaps on secondary issues".

Papandreou pointed out "when talks begin and fundamental issues are solved, then the referendum can take place". He expressed reservations whether the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side will accept the conditions set out by Annan.

The Greek FM reiterated that Nicosia and Athens would like to see Alvaro de Soto remain in the post of Annan's Special Advisor on Cyprus.

Papandreou discussed with Annan the security aspect, explaining that "negotiations cannot be held on the current phase because of the pre-election period (in Greece) and for this reason that whatever happens must take place after the 7th March elections with the new government that will emerge".

Annan informed Papandreou that in the next few days he would contact Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

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