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ATTORNEY GENERAL: RADICAL CHANGE OF TURKISH VIEWS NEEDED FOR PROGRESS
2002-02-28 23:20:37

Nicosia, Feb 28 (CNA) -- Unless there is a radical change in the positions of the Turkish side, there cannot be any progress towards a Cyprus settlement at the ongoing UN-led direct talks, Attorney General Alecos Markides has said, expressing "general disappointment" with the current state of affairs.

In an interview with CNA on the eve of the resumption of the talks, Markides said that it should become clear by March whether there is any progress, if a June deadline is to be observed with regard to edging closer to a settlement.

The Attorney General, member of the negotiating team of the Greek Cypriot community, also said that attempts should be made in the weeks ahead to establish whether assertions by the Turkish Cypriot leader to reconsider certain things actually have any validity.|

On European Union role with regard to the UN-led peace effort, Markides said Cyprus' accession course dictates and defines certain principles to which any agreed solution should comply with, including the principle of having one state in Cyprus which will be in a position to effectively meet its obligations to the Union.

President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash return Friday to the negotiating table of the UN-led direct talks after a ten-day break, during which UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto briefed the Security Council on the outcome of the talks so far.

Direct talks began on 16 January with three weekly meetings here. As of tomorrow there will be two meetings per week.

"There is a general disappointment because there has not been any substantive move in the Turkish policy towards the right direction and the parameters defined by the UN Security Council resolutions," Markides said.

He said that as long as the Turkish side aims at the creation of "two states" or insists on the existence of "two states", there can be no settlement.

"The solution of the problem lies in their hands in the sense that if they ask in good faith for a solution in the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as agreed, then a solution can be found," Markides stressed.

Invited to comment on Turkish press reports that now the ball is in President Clerides' court, the Attorney General was categorical that this is not so.

"I do not feel that there is anything at the moment that our side should be doing or that our side owes a reply to anyone," he said.

Commenting on the June timeframe, Markides said in order to meet this deadline after each meeting one should be in a position to say that concrete progress was made on a specific aspect of the Cyprus question.
"Progress should start emerging in March, if our goal is to find a comprehensive settlement by June," he said.

Asked if "give and take" tactics will begin with the new round of talks, Markides said attempts should be made with regard to various issues to see the extent to which Denktash insists on his current positions or to establish the validity of his statements that he would reconsider certain things.

Asked on the role of various mediators, he was quite categorical that they have an obligation to act in a way that would promote a solution in line with the parameters of UN resolutions, noting that it is up to them to decide how they should go about doing this.

On the role of the EU, he said Cyprus' accession course dictates that there must be one state in Cyprus with one voice which should be in a position not only to meet its obligations but also to implement the acquis communautaire.

"The contents of the solution must not violate basic provisions of the acquis communautaire, including the fundamental freedoms, (settlement, movement, the right to property).

Replying to questions, he dismissed Turkish allegations that Cyprus is sitting on its laurels because the EU has promised membership and is lagging behind in its effort to find a settlement.

"We are making every genuine effort to reunite Cyprus and see it join the EU. If this position is faced with obstacles created by Turkish policy because of its insistence on 'two states', then I do not believe we can be accused of dragging our feet," he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

CNA MM/GP/2002

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