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Foreign Minister: Denktash's proposal not helpful
2002-09-23 23:22:16

Nicosia, Sep 23 (CNA) -- A Turkish Cypriot proposal on the solution of the Cyprus question is not considered by foreign diplomats as helpful in the effort to break the deadlock in the peace talks, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said.

Speaking on his return from New York, after two weeks of meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly, he said today's meetings in Athens by the top UN envoy conducting the talks, Alvaro de Soto, are part of his efforts to prepare the ground for a meeting in early October between President Glafcos Clerides, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"None of my interlocutors believes that the document Denktash put forward at the talks is a paper on which somebody can rely to break the deadlock," Kasoulides noted.|

The paper, which Denktash presented as an improvement on an earlier proposal he had put forward, "is nowhere near the point which could help solve the Cyprus question."

The minister pointed out that a single sentence among the many pages of the proposal, which could be useful in the future, does not make the paper positive.

"The President has replied all the points made in this document," he added.

President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks for the past nine months but no substantive progress towards a settlement has been achieved so far.

Denktash insists on the creation of two separate states whereas President Clerides supports the reunification of the island, divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974, under a bizonal, bicommunal federation as provided for by numerous UN resolutions.

Replying to questions, Kasoulides said Britain, the US and the UN hope to present the two sides to the talks an overall solution plan after Turkey's general elections, on 3 November, adding that Kofi Annan will have the final word on this matter.

Commenting on today's meetings in Athens between de Soto and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou he said "the discussions must be part of de Soto's efforts to prepare the ground properly for the 3-4 October meeting in New York and to see his attempts to find a negotiated settlement yield results."

Commenting on Cyprus' European Union accession course, Kasoulides said the government has no indication that the country's membership is "at risk."

He said the EU will take a political decision on the candidate states at the EU summit in December and recalled that the referendum in Ireland to ratify the Nice Treaty has to say "yes" before things move on.

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