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CYPRUS GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN'S DAILY BRIEFING
2002-08-27 11:07:58

DAILY BRIEFING OF THE PRESS BY THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

26 August 2002
At today's meeting the Government Spokesman, Mr Michalis Papapetrou, stated the following:
"The President of the Republic had a meeting with Mr de Soto today, the purpose of which was to prepare for the talks tomorrow. Certainly, matters of more general interest and significance were raised, as well as the President's visit to Paris and his meetings there with Mr Anan and Mr Denktash. The Paris meeting will last one day. Firs, there will be a meeting with Mr Denktash at 10:00am on Friday. This will be followed by a meeting between Mr Anan and the President of the Republic, and at 1:00pm, the three of them will have a working lunch. The President is scheduled to depart on 4 September and most possibly, will return on 7 September."

Question: Is there anything of essence about this meeting?

Answer: No. As you know, the talks as well as these meetings continue to be bound by a blackout of statements. Consequently, there is nothing to be said on what has troubled the two leaders and what they have discussed. Undoubtedly, the Cyprus problem and our accession course, which comprise the two main pillars of our political effort, are entering a critical phase, and a lot will be judged by the developments and handlings in the next few months. With this opportunity, I reassure you that the Greek Cypriot side will go to the talks, which begin tomorrow, in the same spirit as before, namely, in a spirit of give and take, with a strong desire to reach a compromise, which will be based, though, on principles, decisions and within the framework that the international community itself has set regarding the Cyprus problem. In parallel, I would like to underline the Government?s decisiveness in promoting the final completion of our accession course, always in cooperation with the Greek Government for the promotion of this big national goal.

Question: Will President Clerides be accompanied by an advisor or official in Paris?

Answer: No, at the Paris meetings each leader will have with him a person taking minutes. The duty of taking minutes will be assumed by the Republic's Ambassador in Paris, Mr Hadjimichael.

Question: Will he be accompanied at the trip?

Answer: The President will be alone.

Question: Will Mr de Soto attend the meeting as well?

Answer: I do not know, but I assume he will.

Question: Does the fact that, this time, Mr Anan will meet Mr Denktash first, lead to any assumptions?

Answer: I do not wish to make any statement on this issue, but I think it is natural that since it is the Turkish side which is in contradiction with the resolutions of the international organisation, it is there where a lot of effort is needed.

Question: Did Mr Anan himself ask that the two leaders be alone?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Is this deliberate?

Answer: No, I do not think it is deliberate.

Question: Is there an agenda for tomorrow?s meeting?

Answer: There is nothing specific that will be discussed tomorrow but I suppose Mr de Soto might make some suggestions as to how we proceed. We have seen statements in the press by Mr Denktash that he intends to submit a new complete plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Of course, we would not like to presuppose anything. Any new suggestion by Mr Denktash is welcomed, provided that it will take into serious consideration issues that, as I am sure he has comprehended, cannot be accepted by the Greek Cypriot side and provided that he makes realistic suggestions so that we can reach a solution of compromise.

Question: Mr Denktash repeats that his "sovereignty" is non-negotiable. Is the sovereignty of the Cyprus Republic negotiable?

Answer: Our side's stance is clear and is based on international law as well as on positions of the European Union. There cannot be a state with more than one sovereignties, unless we talk about more states. As long as we remain firm on our position for one state, we talk about one sovereignty.

Question: Following today?s briefing and exchange of views by Mr de Soto, do our side's reservations about the possibility of another statement by Mr Anan, like that of the 12th of September, diminish?

Answer: There is no relevant information about any statement by the United Nations. Certainly, I cannot exclude the possibility that the Secretary-General might make statements during the meeting, which we, however, do not know and of course, will not judge beforehand. We do not set any conditions or framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem. That framework is set by the international community, the organisation that Mr Anan is representing. We do not ask for anything more or anything less. We ask for an approach to the Cyprus problem, which lies within the framework that they themselves have set.

Question: The same framework existed during the proximity talks in Geneva, and nevertheless, the United Nations had made statements that were in disagreement with our side.

Answer: I think that the culmination of those talks was the summary made by the Secretary-General in the document of 8 November 2000, which was consolidating the basic preconditions that the Greek Cypriot side sought to safeguard: one sovereignty, one citizenship, one international personality, respect for human rights and international law. And, it is these statements that made Mr Denktash leave the talks then for approximately one a half years.

Question: Will Mr de Soto's tomorrow statements involve the process of the talks?

Answer: I would not like to presuppose anything and I believe it would be better to wait and see how things evolve and then talk.

Question: So, tomorrow we should move into the unknown and be hopeful?

Answer: We proceed in order to resume this effort.

Question: Will the President go to Athens after Paris to meet Mr Simitis?

Answer: There is no such planning. Matters are clear between the Greek and Cypriot Governments, which are in continuous contact. Whenever it is deemed necessary, such meeting will occur.

Question: Will the General Assembly be attended by the President himself?

Answer: This has not been concluded. It will depend on the developments at the talks. In case that the President does not go, the Foreign Minister will represent him. But, we do not know yet.

Question: What can you tell us about the imminent visits by Mr Hanney and Mr Weston?

Answer: I consider them within the framework of their periodic visits in Cyprus. I think it is natural for these diplomats to occupy themselves with the Cyprus problem and visit Cyprus, since we are entering a critical phase of the efforts to resolve the problem. These trips are not the product of any developments of the last weeks. At least Mr Hanney?s trip had been finalised before the summer.

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