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Cyprus House President condemns UDI, pledges to work for solution
2004-11-15 14:26:19

Nicosia, Nov 15 (CNA) -- House President Demetris Christofias condemned this evening the unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriots, in occupied Cyprus, and at the same time pledged to work for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Christofias was critical of ''certain circles'' in the international community and some among the Turkish Cypriots that are attempting to promote measures contrary to international law and order and the rules of the European Union, on the pretext of ''ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots'' and thereby bypassing the Republic of Cyprus.

Addressing an anti-occupation rally on today's anniversary of the UDI, he said the rejection of a UN-proposed solution plan (the Annan plan) by the Greek Cypriots in a referendum was not the end of the road, stressing that efforts should be directed to the future.

''We are seeking changes to the Annan plan that would not alter its philosophy nor would they affect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community,'' he said, adding that the party he leads (AKEL) is working for rapprochement between the island's two communities.

He said at present, neither Turkey nor the Turkish Cypriot side wish to get involved in a new round of negotiations, the former because of the landmark date of 17th December (when the European Union will decide whether or not to begin accession negotiations with Ankara) and the latter because of the political instability in northern occupied Cyprus.

The House President said AKEL is trying to explain the reasons that have led the Greek Cypriots to reject the UN plan and assure the Turkish Cypriots that meeting the concerns of one community cannot be at the expense of the other.

He reiterated AKEL's firm support for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots through various proposals and for Turkey's EU membership provided that Turkey complies with EU norms.

''We welcome the proposal by Cyprus President Papadopoulos for direct dialogue with Turkey, a move that would help the EU December decision and the effort for a solution in the wider sense,'' he said.

Participants at the rally decided to send a petition to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on the basis of Christofias' speech.

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