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KISOS and RTK want solution before accession
2002-11-06 15:19:20

Nicosia, Nov 6 (CNA) ? Social Democrats (KISOS) leader and Presidential candidate, Yiannakis Omirou and leader of the Republican Turkish Party, (RTK) Mehmet Ali Talat expressed their common desire for a solution to the Cyprus problem before the Copenhagen European Council.

In statements during a meeting at the KISOS offices in Nicosia, Omirou said he hoped the result of the Turkish elections would help Cyprus while Talat said he believes the triumph of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will act positively for a Cyprus settlement.

Talat said his party expects a "rapid solution of the Cyprus problem" and hoped the problem will be "resolved until the Copenhagen European Council".|

Otherwise, he said, "it will be quite difficult" because Turkey has repeatedly said it would respond to Cyprus' accession to the EU without a solution". Furthermore, he added, the T/C are going to face economic hardship from such a development, which "would cause some difficulties for our future relations".

The Republican Turkish Party, Talat said, prefers "a solution to Cyprus problem until Copenhagen and entrance of Cyprus as a unified island to the EU as this would create a much better climate in our region".

About the result of the elections in Turkey, the RTK leader said it "is a radical change" and he expects this will positively reflect on Cyprus and efforts for a settlement would be decisive.

He described Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's illness as "another obstacle" in efforts for a settlement, but said he hoped Denktash will recover soon and the direct talks will resume.

Asked if there will be an alternative if Rauf Denktash does not return to the negotiating table soon, Talat proposed proximity talks, which could contribute to the pr?cess.

Regarding reports about a solution plan expected to be submitted by the UN Secretary-General, Talat said his party is anticipating the plan, which he described as a "package", adding that it must be discussed either with "Denktash's physical or remote participation".

To a question if he believes the Cyprus problem, which has been pending for 28 years now, could be solved in a few days, Talat replied, "it must be resolved, we don't have any other chance".

Without a solution, he said, "Cyprus will enter the EU with the present status quo which we cannot accept", because it would cause difficulties to Turkish Cypriots, such as representation in the European Parliament.

He said the winner of Sunday's elections in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not mention annexation of the occupied north of Cyprus with Turkey and that the parties, which did mention it, got 1.2 percent of the vote in Turkey.

KISOS leader Omirou said the two parties reached a mutual conclusion that they "should make every possible effort to find, the soonest, a solution to the Cyprus problem, reuniting our homeland, and if possible this solution should be secured before the Copenhagen European Council (in December), so that all residents of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from the advantages which will ensue from participation in the EU".

"We support the initiatives and efforts of the UN Secretary-General to achieve progress and we bear in mind that we are ready to examine a solution plan, if and when it is submitted", Omirou added.

However, he stressed a solution should be based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and be in line with the acquis communautaire.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. UN-sponsored direct talks, which began in January this year, have been suspended following Denktash's open- heart surgery in New York last month.

Accession negotiations with the EU are expected to be finalised by the end of the year, while efforts are underway by the international community to find a solution to the protracted political problem. However, the conclusions of the Helsinki summit underlined that a solution is not a prerequisite for accession

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