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British envoy concludes visit
2002-09-02 09:46:06

Nicosia, Sep 2 (CNA) -- British special representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay concluded his meetings on the island with assurances that London's policy on Cyprus has not changed.

During his contacts here, Hannay seems to have made a special effort to clarify his position and explain that press reports to the effect that he backs a multi-level sovereignty for the state of Cyprus that would emerge from the peace negotiations do not reflect his views.| His trip to the island comes at a poignant time as President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are preparing for their meeting in Paris on Friday with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take stock and find ways to chart the way forward at the UN-led talks his special envoy Alvaro de Soto has been conducting for the past eight months.

Lord Hannay seems to have advocated the view that there must be one state with one sovereignty and does not appear to share the view that sovereignty can be exercised on a regional basis.

The overriding philosophy of Hannay's positions, according to reliable sources, is that within a sovereign state there are such competencies that allow the exercise of authority on different levels but this does not necessarily mean that the sovereignty of the state is circumvented.

The issue of sovereignty has been a major stumbling block at the direct talks with Denktash demanding such powers for the Turkish Cypriot administered region of Cyprus that would effectively render it a sovereign statelet and with Clerides stressing that there must be only one indivisible sovereignty of the state of Cyprus.

Interest in the Cyprus question has increased these days because of Friday's meeting but it is expected that this interest will reach its peak after Turkey's general elections on 3 November.

According to the same sources, Ankara seems to have started to begin to understand that it would not be in its interest to see the Republic of Cyprus join the European Union without the Turkish Cypriots sharing the benefits that the island would gain from accession.

This prospect, foreign diplomatic sources believe, could act as a springboard to push Turkey into thinking that it should change its tune on Cyprus prior to the EU decision about Cyprus' accession, expected to be taken in December.

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