Cyprus President & Greek PM reconfirm common strategy
by Christa Nicolaou
Athens, Jan 25 (CNA) – Cyprus and Greece reconfirmed their common strategy in efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and pledged that this can only be done through an agreed and viable solution of the political problem under the UN aegis, based on the UN Secretary-General’s Plan and the recent positions of the Cypriot side
The positions were outlined after a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos in the Greek capital.
In his remarks after the talks, Premier Karamanlis welcomed President Papadopoulos, noting “we had an extensive discussion in the framework of the continued cooperation between Cyprus and Greece”.
He said “we examined in depth the current situation on the Cyprus problem and the developments, especially after the decision of the December European Council. We confirmed once again our common strategy to reunite Cyprus as a result of an agreed, functional, viable solution of the political problem under the UN aegis based on the Annan Plan and the recent positions of the Cypriot side”.
Karamanlis specified that “finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem is determined by a significant development which is a reality, Cyprus’ participation in the great European family. The solution therefore should be compatible with the fundamental principles and values on which the EU is founded upon”, he stressed.
The Greek Premier also said the two and delegations from both countries “examined in depth the deliberations that are expected to take place soon at the UN and the EU as well as Turkey’s obligations regarding its external policy, following the recent decision of the European Council regarding the country’s accession course.
“We analysed the framework of our cooperation through the EU and ascertained once again the excellent level of cooperation in all aspects”, he said, adding “our efforts to further strengthen relations will intensify in all sectors”.
The Cypriot President said they exchanged views on the Cyprus problem during a “useful and constructive meeting”.
He also said that they examined all aspects of the Cyprus problem, adding that cooperation between the two countries is continued.
Asked if Athens is in line with Nicosia’s position that the changes to the Annan Plan for a comprehensive settlement should not be decorative but substantial, the Prime Minister said that “undoubtedly one of the issues of our discussion is to see, with the initiative of the Cyprus government, which are those elements that we would like to see some changes taking place. It is a matter-of-course/evident that there is very close cooperation on this level”.
To a question how Athens views the Cypriot position that there should be no arbitration and tight deadlines in finding a solution but that the aim should be an agreed solution, Karamanlis said that “I believe that these positions are on a logical course and this was the main issue of our discussion today”.
Asked whether he believes Turkey will sign the protocol expanding its customs union with all new EU member states and Cyprus, the Greek Premier said that “it is not important what I believe but what obligations each country has. These obligations were agreed during the recent EU council”.
The Cypriot President will hold a series of meetings tomorrow with Greek political party leaders and meet Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos.
From Athens, the President will go to Poland with his Greek counterpart to represent Cyprus at the observances marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, in Poland.