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Embassy News

Spokesman disappointed with British stance
2002-06-18 11:12:27

Nicosia, Jun 18 (CNA) -- Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said today he was "disappointed" that London is apparently backing the creation of a new state in Cyprus and that it continues to talk about "two peoples" on the island, even after Nicosia had outlined its strong opposition to such notions.

Papapetrou said the government is concerned with such comments, as expressed by Britain's envoy for Cyprus Lord David Hannay, and stressed that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides does not intend to get involved in a negotiation on the principle of 'give and no take' and considers an approach to appease the Turkish side "wrong and counterproductive."

The spokesman said there is nothing to suggest that either the UN or the US share the views expressed by Hannay.|

"I would like to express my disappointment as it seems that Britain, even after Monday's representations, adheres to these positions," Papapetrou said, referring to Hannay's comments to CNN Turk for a new state in Cyprus and "two peoples" who would be masters in their own home.

The government supports amendments to the existing constitution to accommodate a bizonal, bicommunal federation and see the Republic of Cyprus being transformed to a federal system, as agreed by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides in 1977 and 1979.

The government wants to preserve the unity of the country after reunification, following a negotiated agreement, and to ensure that no one side will have the right to secede.

"There is one people in Cyprus comprising two communities and this is what the 1960 constitution says and the British should at least have no reason to question the provisions of this constitution," the spokesman stressed.

Britain played a leading role in shaping the constitution in 1960, as Cyprus gained independence from colonial rule.

Papapetrou said British High Commissioner here Lyn Parker, by saying that he would neither add nor subtract anything from what Hannay had said, is "essentially adopting these positions about a new state and two peoples."

Asked whether the UN and the US also advocate such views, the spokesman said there is no evidence linking the UN or the US with the views Hannay expressed.

Replying to questions, the spokesman said there is an effort going on to appease the intransigent side at the talks and added "I believe this approach is totally wrong and counterproductive.'

"In the past they declared themselves to be ardent supporters of a give and take approach and now they seem to be adopting a give-give approach," Papapetrou said.

This, he stressed, President Glafcos Clerides has no intention of doing at the negotiating table.

President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been engaged to UN-led direct talks since mid January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is achieved.

No progress has been achieved so far because of Denktash's insistence on two states in Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

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