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Cypriot President ready to accept viable settlement
2005-07-15 11:47:12

Nicosia, Jul 14 (CNA) - Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed today his readiness to say ''yes'' to a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem but to say ''no'' again to a tortuous and handicapped settlement of the question.

In a speech at the Presidential Palace during an event on the occasion of the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the island, President Papadopoulos said the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan remained the basis of negotiations, and sent a message of unity for a successful outcome of the struggle of the people of Cyprus.

President Papadopoulos said the proposals of the Greek Cypriot side aim at achieving agreed changes to the Annan plan, so that the solution would permanently safeguard the legitimate interests of the people in a common united homeland, now an EU member state.

The military coup against the first President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the illegal occupation of the island's northern third and its de facto division.

Referring to the gap in the two sides' positions, President Papadopoulos said this unavoidably would continue to exist, as long as the aim of the Turkish side was to upgrade the puppet regime in the Turkish occupied areas and create two separate legal entities on the island.

''The solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation is and remains an unchanged, unmoved and steadfast position for us. The Annan plan remains the basis for negotiations. This policy of ours has not changed. All the changes we discussed in recent talks with the UN were based on this plan,'' he said.

The President assured he would use all his strength in the struggle for a settlement. ''I am ready to say the big 'yes' to a functional and viable solution. However, I am ready to say the big 'no' again to a tortuous and handicapped settlement of our national question. If absolute justice under the circumstances is infeasible, this does not mean that fundamental justice cannot apply and be implemented in the case of Cyprus,'' he pointed out.

He added that no one was justified in saying they were not aware of the positions of the Greek Cypriot side. ''No one can prove and convince that these positions of ours are excessive, extreme, irrational or unreal,'' he said, noting that almost everyone on the island and abroad are finding it difficult to blame the Greek Cypriot community's ''no'' to the Annan plan in last year's referendum and acknowledge the need for changes to the plan.

President Papadopoulos pointed out that it was neither rational nor feasible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to make unacceptable concessions in order to bridge the gap between the two sides, thus adapting its reasonable pursuit to the unreasonable Turkish aims.

''The gap will remain as long as the Turkish side will not budge from its positions and insists on the many unjust and unjustified advantages the Annan plan has offered the Turkish Cypriot community and Turkey, writing off the just and reasonable demands and concerns of the Greek Cypriot side,'' he added.

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