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Clerides: Clarifications and modifications of some issues required
2002-11-17 22:24:10

Larnaca, Nov 17 (CNA) ? Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said there is complete accord with the Greek government that the Greek Cypriot side will ask for clarifications on some issues in the plan submitted by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week, and to negotiate the modification of other.

Speaking on his return from Athens where he conferred with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the political leadership there, Clerides said they carried out "an in-depth analysis of the plan". He also briefed Greek political party leaders and exchanged views. Tomorrow he will inform the National Council on the results of his deliberations.

The president also said he informed the UN he does not agree with the provision in the Annan plan, which says the leaders of the two sides shall become Co-Presidents of Cyprus, during the three year transitional period.

President Clerides stressed that if Turkey does not have the political will to negotiate, then there will not be common ground.|

Asked if the negotiating tactics which the Greek Cypriot side will follow have been decided in Athens, Clerides replied that "there is complete accord that we have to ask clarifications for some issues and to negotiate the modification of other issues" in the plan.

Asked whether the UN Secretary-General had included a letter in his proposal, addressed to both him and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Clerides said, "there is a letter from the SG on this issue (the plan)". He also said the SG had told both men, when they last saw him, "that he would have liked, to meet with us again at the end of November.''

Asked whether he will undertake to sign the Annan plan before a referendum, Clerides said he will listen to the views of the National Council and if they are unanimous, these bind him.

"Glafcos Clerides will listen to the views of the National Council. If these views are unanimous, then they are binding on him. If they are majority, he must seriously consider them. When he hears all, if there is unanimity, then he does not have to take any decisions because the National Council decisions bind him. If they are majority, he must give careful consideration to what the majority says, and if he shares their view, then he will act according to what the majority says".

Asked how long there should be negotiations, President Clerides said that since there has been a delay in starting the negotiations, and this delay is expected to continue, "it must be considered that the time left is not sufficient to complete the negotiations".

To a question whether he agrees with the provision in the Annan plan, which says that during the transitional time of the three years, the leaders of the two sides shall become Co-Presidents of Cyprus Clerides said: "I have already informed the SG's representative that I do not agree with this provision, nor the period provided".

Clerides said however that he has always maintained that if a plan was to be submitted, "there will be issues which satisfy us, and other issues which do not. Issues, which satisfy us, don't satisfy the Turkish side. That is why there are complaints from both sides".
Asked whether the Greek Cypriot side will submit the answer to the peace plan tomorrow, Clerides said this is a matter which will be discussed tomorrow at the National Council".

Invited to comment on statements made Saturday by Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who associated Cyprus' accession to the European Union with Turkey's accession course, Clerides said, "Europe will not alter its course because Mr. Erdogan says that for Cyprus to enter the EU, Turkey should accede simultaneously. This has been clarified a number of times by Europe," he added.

The President clarified that what "will affect the negotiations is whether they (Turkey) have the political will to negotiate. If they don't have the willingness to negotiate, then there will not be common ground," he added.

Invited to comment on statements made by British envoy, Lord David Hannay, that there is no negotiation on the issues of sovereignty, citizenship and others, Clerides said, "this specific point is a reply to the Turkish side which demands that it should have separate sovereignty.''

Answering another question Clerides noted that "this island, in its long history, has passed through many times which were considered critical or the most important and survived. I think it will survive this time too".

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has submitted on November 11, 2002, a plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem and has asked both sides to reply in seven days.

Denktash, who was scheduled to return to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus on Saturday from New York, has been readmitted to hospital following worsening of his condition. He underwent open-heart surgery on October 7 in New York.

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