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Cyprus President: EU Constitution offers stronger basis to solve Cyprus problem
2004-11-01 10:15:30

By Katerina Nicolaou

Rome, Oct 29 (CNA) – The new European Constitution offers yet a stronger basis for the Greek Cypriot side’s negotiating position in efforts to reach a political settlement of the island’s longstanding problem, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stated here Friday.

Responding to questions after the signing ceremony of the Treaty establishing the European Constitution, the President said it is a historic day, noting that the new Constitution includes stronger provisions in the field of human rights.

«The Constitution includes many views, it is a compromise between different opinions”, said President Papadopoulos adding that “in Europe you do not count how much you have achieved but whether the consensus achieved is one you can live with”.

He agreed that a lot remains to be done until the ratification of the Treaty noting that his intention is to send the relevant decision by the Council of Ministers to the House of Representatives the soonest.

Asked if the new Constitution has something to offer in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos pointed out that the approval of the Constitution does not mean that it will provide a European solution.

He said the Constitution does not deal with the internal affairs of national governments, as long as solutions or arrangements decided by the national governments are not contrary to the Constitution.

However, “it provides a stronger basis for our negotiating position”, President Papadopoulos said, adding that Cyprus can cite the provisions of the Constitution in any solution.

The President said that he had a number of unofficial discussions on the sidelines of today’s signing ceremony, noting that he mentioned in brief “the current developments, the deadlock on the Cyprus problem and its association with Turkey’s application to secure a date to start accession negotiations”.

Asked if he talked with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Papadopoulos said that these meetings are not official, noting that that the substance of the Cyprus problem was not examined but some useful remarks were made.

“Sooner or later, Turkey will have to talk with us”, he added.

The President further added that Cyprus will reveal its decision on Turkey’s accession course “at the right time”.

Tomorrow, the President will visit the Vatican where he will be received by Pope John Paul II and the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. He departs from Rome on Sunday.

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