Papandreou pledges Greece's unwavering support
Nicosia, Nov 5 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou has
pledged that Greece will support Cyprus even in "the most extreme" case
Nicosia rejects the proposal for a Cyprus settlement, expected to be
submitted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Papandreou told the Greek Television (NET) last night that "in the most extreme case if Cyprus rejects the Annan proposal then Athens will support Cyprus and together we will fight until the end for Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU) in December".
The Greek FM said he did not believe, however, that Nicosia would reject the plan because Nicosia would rather negotiate it. "Nicosia will say 'let's sit down and discuss' (the plan) and during the negotiations which will follow we will secure improvements".
Papandreou said "if there is an agreement for a Cyprus settlement, then we must all support the agreement and the solution which will ensue so that Cyprus will become a model for Greco-Turkish cooperation and perhaps friendship".
Speaking on the same programme, the winner of Turkey's Sunday elections, Justice and Development Party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said a solution to the Cyprus problem must be found through negotiations, and added that "we have said we support a solution based on the Belgium model" something which he has already conveyed to the UN Secretary-General, as he told NET.|
Erdogan also said the "direct talks between Mr.(Glafcos) Clerides and Mr. (Rauf) Denktash" should continue, adding that "if they reach an agreement, then the relations between Greece and Turkey will be improved".
Commenting on Erdogan's statements, Foreign Minister Papandreou said "it is the first time reference is made on a solution based on a model, that of Belgium, which has proved to be viable and functional after all these years".
He described the Erdogan position as "very important", stressing that if words become actions, "then the Cyprus problem will enter a course based on a viable solution".
In an intervention, Cyprus' Chief Negotiator for Accession to the EU, George Vassiliou said that if Erdogan made such statements, "then we will have a solution".
He pointed out that the solution, which Annan would propose, must comply with the acquis communautaire.
Papandreou said it is very likely that the Annan proposal would be submitted in the next couple of weeks because of the uncertainty of the situation in Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's ill health.
Former Turkish President, Suleiman Demirel, speaking on the same programme, said he would be surprised if a Cyprus solution is achieved before the EU Summit in Copenhagen, 12 December.
"If there is not a solution and 'southern' Cyprus, (as he described the government-controlled areas of the Republic) accedes to the EU, then I am sure Turkey will be very disappointed", Demirel said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory.
UN-led direct talks for an overall settlement, which began in January 2002, have failed to yield results because of Rauf Denktash's insistence to create two "sovereign states" contrary to UN resolutions calling for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
The talks, however, have been suspended until Denktash recovers from open-heart surgery, performed on October 7 in New York.