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AKEL and T/C PUM support negotiations on Annan plan
2002-11-19 14:54:02

Nicosia, Nov 19 (CNA) ? Left wing AKEL party and the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement (PUM), support negotiations on the basis of the UN Secretary General's proposal for a Cyprus settlement.

They acknowledge that every side sees positive and negative elements on the Annan plan, but believe that with will, common positions can be found which will serve the unity of the people, without being partial to any community.|

In statements after a meeting in the government controlled areas of the Republic, both AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias and the General Secretary of the Foreign Affairs of the PUM, Alpay Durduran, expressed their common concern for the future of Cyprus and the Turkish settlers issue.

Christofias agreed with Durduran about the Turkish Cypriots' concern over the change in the demographic structure in the Turkish occupied north because of the arrival of Turkish settlers and said this problem creates "pressure and domination to Turkish Cypriots as well as an alienation of the T/C community."

There are now 129.000 illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus and only about 75.000 indigenous Turkish Cypriots as opposed to about 120.000 prior to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In addition to these figures, Turkey maintains a 35,000 strong military contingent

Christofias expressed hope that with common efforts and will, the two sides will manage to come to common positions, and underlined that even in the event the Cyprus problem is not resolved before Copenhagen, Cyprus will join Europe.

Durduran said both parties share the same view that they want negotiations but cautioned that we must be careful to avoid difficulties in the future.

"We want a unified country, a central government to preserve the unity of the people. We have to be careful and work hard in this short time," Durduran said.

Acknowledging that the time left is not enough, Christofias pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot side has not yet responded to the UN Secretary General's deadline.

The Greek Cypriot reply was given to the UN on Monday, within the requested time framework of seven days from the day the UN proposal was presented.

Christofias called on the people to remain calm, adding that the National Council will examine in detail the Annan plan.

Durduran cited as reasons for the delay of the Turkish Cypriot side's reply Rauf Denktash's illness and elections in Turkey. "There is shortage of time," he said.

He described the Annan plan as "unique and unconventional," noting that alterations are required.

"We cannot diminish the Republic of Cyprus. If there is no settlement by December Cyprus will join the EU," he said, adding that it is not possible for the T/C to reject the peace plan.

"We are hopeful that things will change and pave the way for a solution to the Cyprus issue," Durduran added.

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