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Clerides examined scenarios with Simitis
2002-05-23 15:13:08

Larnaca, May 23 (CNA) - Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides returned to the island today after talks in Athens, saying that he discussed with the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis all scenarios around Turkish reactions with heated incidents and the connection of the Cyprus problem with the island's EU accession course, although there are not any indications that such developments would occur.

Speaking at Larnaca Airport on arrival, President Clerides said the content of his talks in the Greek capital would be discussed at the National Council, top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, which has been convened for May 27.

He added that "Greece backs Cyprus on all levels" and noted that although direct talks on the Cyprus problem must come to an end, June was a target not an expiry date, as developments may slow the process down, such as elections in Turkey.|

President Clerides has been engaged in UN-led direct talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash since January this year, with a view to negotiate until a settlement is achieved to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. All interested parties, including the UN, have agreed that June should be a target date for substantive progress.

The President said he was returning from Athens "fully satisfied with the discussions and exchange of views" with Simitis, Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos and Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis. He said it was "a very useful and productive exchange of views".

Asked if June was an expiry date for the direct talks, President Clerides said "no such decision was made", noting that "there should be an expiry, but when this expiry will be will depend on developments".

Invited to say whether the situation in Turkey was affecting developments on the Cyprus problem, the President explained that if elections will take place in Turkey, then there would be a delay.

He added that he discussed with Simitis various scenarios regarding a heated incident caused by Turkey before or after Cyprus' accession to the EU, and the possible linking of the Cyprus problem with accession, noting that "without having any indications, we thought it would be useful to exchange views".

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