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Cypriot President to talk with Greece before deciding on Annan plan
2004-04-05 14:43:06

Nicosia, Apr 3 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said today the government would be holding a series of contacts over the next few days with the Greek government, before announcing to the people its decision on the final text of a plan to solve the Cyprus problem, presented to the sides by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during talks in Switzerland.

President Papadopoulos noted that it would not be right to request a meeting between the governments and political party leaders of Greece and Cyprus to decide on the Annan plan in view of the April 24 referenda on the island to accept or reject the solution plan, noting that it would be wrong to ''shift our responsibilities onto Greece.''

The National Council, top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, convened today to examine developments after the UN-led talks in Burgenstock, Switzerland, and to evaluate the Annan plan.

Asked if the negative feelings of the Greek Cypriots regarding the Annan plan would settle down by the time of the referendum, President Papadopoulos said he could not make such an assessment, noting that ''this plan is known to all the people.''

''I do not believe that in the history of Cyprus there has ever been another political document that was analysed to such an extent, translated and circulated. Those interested have no excuse that they are not aware of it. They know it very well,'' the President said, adding however that certain points might not be comprehensible at first glance.

President Papadopoulos said it would be unwise for the government and the people to vote in the referendum without taking into consideration the future consequences from a ''yes'' or ''no'' vote.

Asked if he was feeling pressure from the international community, President Papadopoulos replied in the negative, noting that ''the international community clearly prefers a solution of the Cyprus problem with the Annan plan, something which is known and is not a secret.''

''We will decide, judging all conditions, all facts and certainly taking into account the consequences of a 'yes' or 'no','' the President said.

Replying to questions, the President said the Burgenstock talks ''gave much to the Turkish Cypriot side, compared to the changes we achieved,'' adding that the changes the Turkish Cypriot side obtained were ''much more significant than those of the Greek Cypriot side.''

Speaking after the National Council meeting, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the Annan plan would soon be available to the people in booklet form, to study and decide on.

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