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Kasoulides: Initially, we will negotiate plan
2002-11-13 10:46:27

Nicosia, Nov 13 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said here Wednesday the initial response of the Greek Cypriot side is that it will negotiate on the basis of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a Cyprus settlement.

Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, Kasoulides said although the National Council decides on its own, he has "no doubt that there will be full agreement between Athens and Nicosia".

Kasoulides said the Greek Cypriot side would reply to the Secretary-General after Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides returns from Athens over the weekend and the National Council meeting next Monday.|

"If the decision is to negotiate the proposed plan, which at first glimpse this is how things will be, we will genuinely negotiate and defend the best interests of this land", he said.

Asked if the reply of the Greek Cypriot side will be given next Monday, bearing in mind Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will not be able to reply by the proposed date, Kasoulides said "realistically, we will not make it by Monday. Whether we will reply by Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, I don't know".

He said the Council of Ministers was informed about the plan and members received copies to discuss it during the next meeting.

The Foreign Minister said surely the people of Cyprus should be informed on the plan but pointed out that the plan is not simple. "It is not merely a political document. It is a political and legal document, complex, with completely new models/pictures which the Cypriot people are not familiar with", he noted.

He recommended that gradually and with patience, people should be explained and informed about the contents of the plan. At the same time, the plan should not be judged piece by piece but in its entirety, Kasoulides explained.

Asked if the Greek Cypriot side will negotiate the Annan document, the Foreign Minister said "initially ? and you have heard so from the political leaders who said it in public ? we will negotiate on the basis of the plan".

Representatives of the UN Secretary-General delivered the Annan plan to President Clerides in Cyprus and to Denktash in New York. The two sides were given seven days to reply whether they will negotiate.

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