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Britain wants to hear how to reach agreed Cyprus solution
2005-07-01 12:42:07

Nicosia, Jul 1 (CNA) -- Britain wants to continue to move the Cyprus settlement process, new British High Commissioner to Cyprus Peter Millett has said, adding that he looks forward to hearing ''in more detail'' how an agreed settlement could be reached.

Millet presented here today his credentials to Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who reiterated his commitment for an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem that would be a result of negotiations and not of arbitration and strict deadlines.

Presenting his credentials, Millett said that the continuing need to reunite the island would be a significant feature of his work, adding that ''we want to continue to work with you to find a way to move the settlement process forward on the basis of the Annan Plan.''

Noting that because Britain respects the outcome of the 24 April 2004 referendum on the settlement plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and therefore cannot afford to let matters rest, Millet said that he personally looks forward ''to hearing in more detail how we can achieve our shared objective of a settlement acceptable to both communities.''

''I can assure you that I want to play a full and constructive role in supporting that process,'' he added.

Replying, the President said that he looks forward to working with the United Kingdom, which today assumes the Presidency of the European Union, on further enhancing the process of European integration, adding that his visit to London later this month at the invitation of British Prime Minister Tony Blair ''will provide an opportunity to take stock of our relationship on these matters and to solidify our bilateral relations.''

Reiterating his commitment for a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos outlined the reasons why the Greek Cypriot community rejected the Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement.

''The people of Cyprus decided in April last year, in a democratically held referendum, to overwhelmingly reject Annan Plan V, which was the result of arbitration and not of free negotiations,'' President Papadopoulos noted, adding that ''they felt the Plan was neither fair nor balanced in addressing their legitimate concerns for a viable and lasting solution of the Cyprus problem.''

Noting that the Annan Plan may provide the basis for a new round of talks, after it has been substantially improved and amended, President Papadopoulos pointed out that ''this can only be effected through the removal of provisions of the Plan which render doubtful the functionality and viability of the state and lead to the perpetuation and solidification of division of the people, the society, the territory and the economy on the island.''

''We cannot accept provisions that would allow foreign troops accompanied by rights of intervention and foreign settlers to remain in our country ad infinitum,'' he added.

President Papadopoulos also said that his government strongly supports the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots within the framework of international law and the acquis communautaire and for this reason has submitted proposals to the European Union in the field of economic aid and trade that would enhance confidence building and cooperation between the two communities, pointing out however that ''we strongly believe that the efforts to upgrade the regime in the occupied area do not promote the reunification of the country.''

Referring to Turkey, President Papadopoulos recalled that Cyprus had taken a positive stance during last December's European Council as regards the commencement of accession negotiations with Turkey, emphasising that ''the ongoing occupation of Cyprus by Turkey cannot be relegated into a non-issue in the relations of the European Union with Turkey.''

Noting that Turkey, an EU candidate member state, cannot refuse to extend to Cyprus, an EU member state, the same treatment it accords to the rest of the European partners, President Papadopoulos warned that ''the Republic of Cyprus will continue to cooperate within the framework of Turkey's accession process, provided that Turkey meets its obligations as a candidate country and acts accordingly.''

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