Papadopoulos: success of talks depends on shift of Turkish side
by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
United Nations, Feb 13 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has pledged to continue his positive approach in the search for a settlement on the basis of a UN peace proposal and in achieving the accession of a reunited island in the European Union.
In a statement issued here today, after the announcement of the resumption of negotiations in Cyprus next week, the President said the successful outcome of the talks will depend on a shift in the position of the Turkish side.
The President welcomed European Commission engagement in all phases of the negotiations.
He thanked party leaders who accompanied him to New York, the Greek government and extended particular thanks and appreciation to former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides who in turn praised Papadopoulos for ''fighting a very difficult battle with great ability, in a persistent way but also with the necessary flexibility when needed.''
Reiterating the long-standing position of the Greek Cypriot side for talks on the basis of the Annan plan, the President said ''whether the talks succeed or not will depend on the change in the attitude of the Turkish side and on whether it will demonstrate the necessary political will.''
He said he submitted proposals right at the start of this week's talks, which began on Tuesday, and noted that the moves made by the Greek Cypriot side led the Turkish Cypriot side back to the negotiating table on the basis of the Annan plan, which the Turkish Cypriot side considered ''dead and buried.''
He said the role of the UN Secretary General to decide on points where there is continuous deadlock, is now restricted to the basis of his plan and this role is not open to issues which may be raised by the Turkish Cypriot side outside the parameters of the plan.
The President stressed the significance of EU Commission involvement in all stages of the negotiations and said talks are extended to include Greece and Turkey in collaboration and support of the efforts for a final conclusion of the talks.
''Extended negotiations will always take place under UN auspices and in the framework of the Secretary General's good offices mission,'' the President pointed out.
He said Annan has given assurances that the final draft will be submitted to the Security Council before it is finalized.
The President thanked party leaders for their support and he paid particular tribute to the presence and continuous support of former President Glafcos Clerides and his aides.
Papadopoulos noted the very close cooperation with the Greek premier Costas Simitis and his government and the main opposition party leader.
''Our side will continue with the same positive attitude to seek a solution in Cyprus on the basis of the Annan plan and the accession of a reunited Cyprus to the EU on May 1 2004,'' the President said.
Speaking to the press, Clerides said the outcome of the four days of talks for Cyprus was ''very beneficial'' and appealed for solidarity and support for the President.
House President Demetris Christofias, also in New York, send a message of unity and collectivity and said the interest of the international community was tantamount to pressure.