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Clerides prefers solution plan to be submitted after elections
2002-11-08 15:00:25

Nicosia, Nov 8 (CNA) ? President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides said he would prefer any solution plan for Cyprus to be submitted by the UN after the February 2003 presidential elections.

Explaining the reason, Clerides said it would be more reasonable the issue is handled in a composed manner after the elections.

Speaking Thursday, Clerides remarked it would not be wise any plan by the UN Secretary-General to constitute an issue during the Presidential elections campaign.

Asked if he is optimistic there will be a Cyprus settlement, President Clerides said by nature he is optimistic, only to add that experience has taught him that optimism does not always bring the desired results.

Invited to comment on statements made on Cyprus by Turkey's election winner, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), President Clerides said the only clear statement Erdogan has made is that he would like to see an improvement in Greco-Turkish relations.

However, he said there was nothing to indicate a change in Turkey's attitude on Cyprus.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of the island's territory. UN-led direct talks to reach an overall settlement have been suspended because of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's health. He is recuperating in New York following open-heart surgery last month.

Cyprus is expected to finalise accession negotiations with the European Union by the end of the year. According to the Helsinki summit conclusions in 1999, the European Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the EU.

However, if no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition.

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