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Simitis and Clerides analyse and assess UN plan
2002-11-16 23:53:35

by Maria Myles-- Athens, Nov 16 (CNA)--- Greek Premier Costas Simitis said here today that the Greek Cypriot side would decide on the way it will negotiate on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus as well as on the goal it is seeking through these negotiations.

Speaking after 90-minute long discussions with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Simitis said the current juncture must be seized and called for consensus and unity, stressing that a solution that is not satisfactory or workable cannot be accepted.

The Greek Premier also said prolonging the solution or the current division of Cyprus is not an option as they might lead to problems, adding that an effort will be made to amend the negative points in the UN proposal, submitted to the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side last week.

President Clerides agreed with all that Simitis had said and added that both sides in Cyprus will try to amend certain points in the UN plan. He expressed the view that if there is political will, it is possible to achieve an agreement in principle before the EU summit in Copenhagen.

He also said that nothing is agreed in this process of negotiations until everything is agreed.

In his opening remarks, Simitis said that they discussed the reply Cyprus' National Council will give to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on whether it accepts to negotiate on the proposal he has put forward.

The two delegations analysed the UN plan and assessed it in its entirety while they talked about the points that need to be negotiated hard as well as the points that need to be clarified.|

"We shall take our decisions bearing in mind the overall outcome of the negotiation," he said, adding that an effort will be made to reach an agreement without delay, something that will depend on the will of the Turkish Cypriot side as well.

He reiterated Greece's firm support for the effort to find a negotiated settlement and for Cyprus' bid to join the European Union.

President Clerides said he agreed wholly with what the premier had said.

Asked by CNA whether there is room to negotiate and amend for the better the negative points of the UN plan, Clerides explained this is something that will be determined when the negotiations begin.

"I believe the other side (Turkish Cypriot) will have issues of interest that it wishes to discuss as well and consequently both sides will want to see amendments," to the UN proposal, the President added.

On this issue, Simitis said that an effort would be made to achieve the best possible outcome.

Asked if the Greek Cypriot side favours conclusion of an agreement in principle prior to the EU summit, the President said this too would be dealt within the context of the negotiations, pointing out that if there is good will on the part of the Turkish Cypriot side then it is possible to reach agreement prior to Copenhagen.

The President noted that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is not yet back in Cyprus because he is recovering from open heart surgery in New York and therefore, he explained, it is not known when he would return to the island.

Asked if the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed still stands, the President replied "this is of course the position of the Secretary General as well that if at the end of the day we do not reach agreement, there is nothing."

Simitis pointed out that it would be wrong to focus attention on any one issue and warned that public debate on the points that need to be amended does not help the negotiating tactics of the Greek Cypriot side.

Invited to comment on the illegal visit to Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas by the winner of Turkey's elections Tayip Erdogan, Simitis replied "let him make any visits he wishes, let him prepare as he wishes, when he is here Monday we will outline our views to him."

Asked if there is a dilemma solution or division, Simitis explained that prolonging the non solution of the Cyprus question or maintaining the current division is not an easy option and the issue should not be assessed in this perspective.

"What we are seeking is to secure a solution that guarantees peace and cooperation on the island, a solution that is workable," he concluded.

President Clerides said it is necessary to have a solution that is viable and works, otherwise there would be new tension.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its northern third.

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