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President sees no way of approach on two issues
2002-09-08 10:37:12

Larnaca, Sep 7 (CNA) - President Glafcos Clerides said today that the Greek Cypriot side has not moved from its positions on sovereignty and the form the state will have after a Cyprus settlement, noting that "there appears to be no way of approach" between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side on these issues.

He added UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has implied that, if the two sides appear to be unable to agree, he may express views on how to bridge the gaps, and noted that the issues on which differences are smaller than they were when UN-led peace talks began in January are "not very serious issues".

Speaking at Larnaca Airport on arrival from Paris, where he and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had separate and joint meetings with Annan, President Clerides said the UN chief "listened to where there are serious points of disagreement, asked clarification questions and then said every effort should be made by October 3, so that at least fundamental issues, serious disagreements, can be overcome".

Annan invited President Clerides and Denktash to meet him anew in New York on October 3 and 4. They both accepted the invitation.

Asked to comment on Annan's statement after the Paris meetings, that some gaps dividing the parties are quite a bit smaller than when talks began in January between President Clerides and Denktash, the President said "of course there are issues in which the differences, because they are not very serious issues, are much smaller than those on the fundamental issues".

He added that "when the Secretary General makes this differentiation, he gives as the most fundamental issues those of sovereignty and whether there will be a new state or a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus".

President Clerides noted that these issues "were repeatedly discussed and there appears to be no way of approach".

Asked if Annan urged the Greek Cypriot side to shift from its positions on the issue of sovereignty, President Clerides said the UN chief asked both sides to make moves.

Regarding the issues of sovereignty and the future form of the state, the President said "we shifted neither on the one nor the other issue, we consider them equally serious".

"Generally speaking, the Secretary General said our side shows willingness to take into consideration the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots but the other side is not responding", he added.

Asked if Annan gave him a document similar to the one he appears to have given Denktash, President Clerides said it seems the Turkish Cypriot leader asked to have the speaking points the UN chief had in writing and was reading to the two parties.

He added "the Secretary General implied that at some stage, if we cannot agree, he may express views on how the issues should be solved".|

President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks since mid January this year with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

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