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Papadopoulos: Denktash back to his well known positions
2004-03-01 13:00:17

Nicosia, Mar 1 (CNA) -- Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said that during today's meeting in the framework of the UN-led talks aimed at a Cyprus settlement, between him and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot side made its remarks on what the Greek Cypriot side had raised during last week's talks.

Speaking after his return to the Presidential Palace from the talks, Papadopoulos said ''we also discussed the other issues of the first group and we also submitted our positions on the status we want for the territories that will be returned.''

Asked if Denktash expressed his positions on these issues, Papadopoulos said ''we explained our positions and he will express his own tomorrow I suppose.''

On statements made yesterday by the US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston and his remark that the side which will vote ''no'' in the referendum for the solution will carry a heavy burden, Papadopoulos said he trusted the judgment of the people of Cyprus.

Responding to other questions, Papadopoulos said that at today's meeting Denktash replied to the positions tabled by the Greek Cypriot side.

''He (Denktash) explained again his vision and came back to the positions he always had,'' the Cypriot President said.

As regards statements by the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto that as of this week the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders will have before them each other's proposals clearly, Papadopoulos said: ''I don't know what Mr. de Soto has said. We move on chapter by chapter, we express our views and we submit on special issues documents with more arguments, justifications and references on Mr. Annan's documents.''

Commenting on reports that the Greek Cypriot side suggests the restructuring of the Presidential Council to a Ministerial Council with six Greek Cypriots and four Turkish Cypriots, instead of four Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots, Papadopoulos said ''we continue to exchange views.''

He also stressed that ''we are not trying by this proposal to remove any of the Turkish Cypriots' rights, so it is not something we pursue for which we must give something in return.''

''We believe that a more functional Presidential Council will be to the benefit of both sides, it will serve the interests of both sides and mainly renders possible our effective and overall presence in all EU instruments,'' he said.

Papadopoulos also said that Denktash expresses his own views on this, which are not yet finalised.

Asked about Weston's statements on the referenda result and the foreign mediators' position on this, Papadopoulos said ''it is their right to speak out and it is up to them to judge if this kind of statement helps or hinders their efforts to bring about the results they desire.''

Commenting on the fact that the people feel fear when they hear Weston saying that the side that will vote ''no'' at the referendum will carry a heavy burden, Papadopoulos said: ''I trust more the judgment and the intuition of our people. When the people are properly informed they will make their own judgment and not follow what others indicate.''

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