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Kasoulides says Turkish side still intransigent
2002-07-24 13:49:39

Nicosia, July 24 (CNA) -- Although the Greek Cypriot side has made many compromises for a mutual accepted settlement of the Cyprus problem, the Turkish side remains intransigent and continues to make unacceptable demands, Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides said tonight.

In a speech he delivered at an event organised in Salonica, Greece, organised by the Cyprus House of Northern Greece, Kasoulides stressed that if the Turkish side continues to be intransigent and to demand "two states" in Cyprus, the prospect for a solution of the Cyprus problem will diminish and the responsibility for this will be on the Turkish side.

Referring to ongoing UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, which were launched in January between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Kasoulides said the Greek Cypriot side has participated in the talks with an open mind and with the sincere intention to cooperate for a workable solution.|

"Seven months have passed since the beginning of the direct talks and we can not talk about any substantive progress because the Turkish side did not want any", Kasoulides said.

He expressed the view that "now more than ever, the international factor has the obligation to use its influence on the Turkish side to abandon its unacceptable positions so that the window of opportunity now open for a solution of the Cyprus problem can be used effectively".

"The whole island of Cyprus belongs to its communities and the Turkish demand for a creation of 'two states' on the island will not be a solution, it will rather be a dissolution", Kasoulides noted.

He stressed that the priority of the Greek Cypriot side is to solve the Cyprus problem through a peaceful dialogue and added that the island is ready to accede to the EU.

Kasoulides also urged for decisiveness, commitment, and diplomatic flexibility, and said that "we do not have the luxury of any more mistakes".

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory. President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash launched UN-led direct talks in January aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement.

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