Greek Cypriot side is ready for carefully-prepared negotiations
United Nations, Sep 14 -- The Greek Cypriot side is ready to proceed to negotiations for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, provided that they are carefully prepared, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed during a working lunch he hosted Tuesday for the Permanent Representatives of the UN Security Council five permanent members.
He also noted that the Greek Cypriot side has already submitted its positions to UN Secretary General's envoy, Sir Kieran Prendergast, and is ready to proceed to negotiations that have been carefully prepared.
The discussion was held in a positive climate and President Papadopoulos replied to all questions addressed to him by the five permanent representatives, according to diplomatic sources.
In Nicosia, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides rejected statements made yesterday by Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan that the Greek Cypriot side is intransigent on the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Chrysostomides stressed that the key to the solution of the Cyprus problem is the withdrawal of Turkish troops occupying Cyprus' northern third since the 1974 Turkish invasion and called on Turkey to follow the example of the Israeli occupying forces, which withdrew from the Gaza Strip.
Mr. Erdogan had argued that the Greek Cypriot side encouraged the Greek Cypriots to reject the UN Secretary General's solution plan in the April 2004 referendum, adding that since the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union, ''the Greek Cypriot side has become more intransigent.''
Calling on Mr. Erdogan to follow the example of the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Gaza, Mr. Chrysostomides also noted that ''Mr. Erdogan should realise that the forces' withdrawal would contribute to better arrangements for peace in the region.''