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Cyprus President: A new round of Cyprus talks must be very well prepared
2005-04-15 12:00:57

Nicosia, Apr 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that a new round of Cyprus talks must be very well prepared, adding that for quite a long time now the Greek Cypriot side has been working on this issue.

In a televised press conference tonight after two years in government, Papadopoulos said he could not determine when it would be agreed that a dialogue had been prepared in a satisfactory way to give hope that it would bring about a good solution.

Papadopoulos underlined that the Cyprus government pursues a viable and lasting solution and not just to ''close'' the Cyprus problem, adding that ''we want the beginning of a dialogue the soonest possible.''

He noted that countries other than the US and Britain, which have strong relations with Turkey, were also interested to promote a new effort for a Cyprus settlement, for quite a long time now.

Papadopoulos said one can not rule out that the Greek Cypriot side's "areas of concern" would be given to the UN Secretary General once the conditions for the resumption of substantive negotiations were created, adding that this could facilitate the whole process.

The Cypriot President underlined that the solution must be compatible with the EU Constitution, to be ratified by all EU member states, and the EU acquis communautaire.

Asked about Turkey's bid to join the EU, Papadopoulos noted the reactions that a rejection of Turkey by the EU, due to a Cyprus veto, would cause, adding that ''the Turkish army and the occupation is here.''

Asked if Cyprus will put "small vetoes" to Turkey's EU bid if Ankara does not fulfil its obligations regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem, Papadopoulos said that he would never say such a phrase in public because this will provoke reactions without any benefit.

Papadopoulos said that for various reasons the government has repeatedly explained it is not right to outline in detail the Greek Cypriot side's negotiating positions.

He added that his interlocutors in the EU and the UN with whom he discussed this have acknowledged that one who gets engaged into negotiations does not put on the table his positions ''not because that is a secret but because there is no indication how these talks will be carried out.''

''For a while now we have tried to convince those we can, and I believe we have met positive reaction to that, for some preconditions that need to exist so that it is possible a new round of talks to end up to a solution.''

He stressed that it would be a great setback if a new round of talks failed, stressing the importance of good preparation.

Referring to the summary of the Cypriot political parties' views regarding amendments to the plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a comprehensive settlement, with which the majority of the National Council agrees, Papadopoulos recalled that the National Council is an advisory body to the President, adding that no one who presides over the Council would ignore a broader consensus of the political parties.

''And I take very - very much seriously into consideration views that have the broader possible acceptance,'' he said.

Asked about the position of the US, Britain and the UN on the Cyprus problem and invited to say when a new round of talks must begin, the Cypriot President said ''we want the beginning of a dialogue the soonest possible.''

He said he could not determine when it would be agreed that this dialogue had been prepared in a satisfactory way to give hope that it would reach a good solution. ''It is not a matter of delaying tactics,'' he noted.

Papadopoulos said that a number of countries were working towards a Cyprus settlement, noting that Britain and the US could not monopolize the UN actions.

He said other Security Council member states had expressed complaints because previous efforts for a Cyprus settlement were made only by Britain, the US and the UN.

''No one can ignore the importance these countries have for the settlement of the Cyprus problem, especially because of their strong bonds with Turkey. But I can tell you that other important countries that have relations with Turkey are also interested to promote a new effort, for quite a long time now,'' he said.

Asked if the international community would ever accept the amendments the Greek Cypriot side wants to the Annan plan, Papadopoulos said that he does not agree that it is impossible that some countries accept these amendments.

''Even if that was the case, I don't think we are not obliged to try'' to achieve the amendments that can convince the Cyprus people that this amended plan would address the concerns that led the people to reject the plan, he noted.

Papadopoulos said that the Greek Cypriot side would met no understanding on the part of the international community if its position were that the Annan plan was dead.

He noted that such documents, as the Annan plan, that had been drafted after talks cannot politically disappear.

Replying to a question on the appointment of Jaakko Blomberg, former Finish envoy for Cyprus, as the European Commissionís special adviser on Cyprus, Papadopoulos said that he had discussed this issue with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rhen some weeks ago.

''Our goal, before the referendum and surely after the referendum, has been a more active possible involvement on behalf of the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,'' he said.

President Papadopoulos added that ''the Cyprus problem must remain under the UN auspices, but under the new conditions created with Cyprus being a full EU member surely the EU must not be indifferent to the form of the settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

Papadopoulos also underlined that the solution must be compatible with the EU Constitution to be ratified by the EU member states and the EU acquis communautaire.

''I dare say that our goal must be that the EU examines, revises, gives its advice and opinion about the settlement reached,'' Papadopoulos said.

''We have heard the opinion by UN circles that it was a mistake that the Secretary General undertook an arbitrary role during the previous solution process,'' he added.

He expressed the belief that ''Turkey, as some admit in public, will find the Cyprus problem in its bid towards the EU.''

''It is wrong to say that the most effective means for an EU member state to exert pressure is to put a veto'', he said, adding that ''the give and take is continuous.''

Answering another question, Papadopoulos said that the Cyprus Republic has recommended the implementation of the EU regulation for giving financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots. He expressed regret that the Turkish Cypriots had not accepted the EU aid which is valid until 2006.

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