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G/C and T/C leaders say UN plan must be studied carefully
2002-11-13 15:32:09

Nicosia, Nov 13 (CNA) ? Greek Cypriot party leaders said here Wednesday an agreement in principle on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement would be very difficult to achieve by December 12, when the European Union summit takes place in Copenhagen.

Turkish Cypriot party leader talked about an historic opportunity and said the UN proposal must be studied carefully.

Leaders from both sides, speaking after a meeting in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, organised by the Slovak Embassy, said the plan should not be rejected outright, adding that it contains positive and negative elements, which must be dealt with at the negotiating table.|

AKEL General Secretary, Demetris Christofias said it was not realistic to expect to sign an agreement in principle on a solution by December 12, as suggested by the UN Secretary-General.

"We have to see the developments calmly and seriously" Christofias said, adding that the plan contains important issues but also negative elements on core aspects of the problem, such as the issue of sovereignty, citizenship and the creation of a state, "which the negotiators should discuss seriously and persistently".

The Annan plan, said Democratic Party leader Tassos Papadopoulos, could constitute a basis for serious and substantive negotiation.

He too agreed that the signing of an agreement in principle by December 12 was very hard, if not practically impossible to achieve.

Social Democrats' leader, Yiannakis Omirou said it would be irresponsible for the Greek Cypriot side not to reply positively to the Annan invitation for negotiations to reach a settlement.

He said his party has already begun studying the plan, which contains some negative elements, as he said, pointing out however that "during the negotiation, an effort will be made to find ways to make the state function effectively after a settlement".

RTK leader, Mehmet Ali Talat said the solution to the Cyprus problem became imperative primarily because of of European Union enlargement and regional stability.

He said he believes there is enough time to reach agreement until the Copenhagen European Council because "every parameter is known and is on the table".

Asked if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will reject the plan, Talat said ''Denktash does not have the luxury to reject this plan directly".

Talat could not say whether the UN proposal is fair or not for either the Greek Cypriots or the Turkish Cypriots.

On the issue of territory, he said ''I know that it is not easy for the Greek Cypriots to abandon their ownership from their former properties. But don't forget that it is not easy for people who have been living there for the past 25 years to abandon these places. Think about the feelings of the Turkish Cypriots also", Talat said, adding, "if we can manage to sort this out, we will find some compromise".

Hussein Angolemli of the Communal Liberation Party, speaking through an interpreter, said, these are ''very crucial times", adding "that the plan, "is the biggest opportunity for Cypriots, this is an historic opportunity".

Angolemli said the plan must be studied "very carefully" to come to a solution but his first impressions are that it contains balanced ideas. "Therefore this plan was prepared taking into consideration both parties and this plan offers some answers that satisfy both sides", he said.

However, he stressed that further discussion was required on the issues of property and refugees. "We have only one month to study this and both leaders have heavy duties now", Angolemli added.

Patriotic Unity Movement leader, Alpay Durduran said although the Turkish side did not want to see such a plan, "eventually they accepted its submission".

In this context, he said, it was very important because it shows that all guarantor powers (Turkey, Greece, Britain) support it and have joined in its preparation''.

''A solution is possible now more than ever. I am optimistic that there will be a solution to the Cyprus problem", said Durduran.

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