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Kasoulides: G/C side will not tolerate any further delay by others
2002-11-20 14:29:18

Larnaca, Nov 20 (CNA) ? The Greek Cypriot side would like an agreement on the UN Secretary-General's blueprint for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, but will not tolerate any further delay by others, meaning the Turkish Cypriot side, which will make the plan "a take it or leave it" situation, said Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

Speaking on his return from Brussels, Kasoulides repeated that the government is ready to begin negotiations on the plan.

"Our side has said it is ready to negotiate on the plan which the Secretary- General submitted for negotiating and not to reject it. We are ready to begin this negotiation, even yesterday," the minister said.

He added that there are some imponderable factors, such as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's illness, and other factors, which do not depend on the Greek Cypriot side.

"These are the intentions of the Turkish side, because we hear different statements from Ankara and Recep Tayyip Erdogan which many times, are conflicting," the minister said.|

Kasoulides expressed hope there will be an agreement before the Copenhagen European Council in December, noting the Greek Cypriot side "will not tolerate any further delay by others so as to make the plan a "take it or leave it" situation."

From the moment that no opportunity was given during the UN-led direct talks to discuss the territorial and refugee aspects, Kasoulides said, "we have every right to want to negotiate and examine these two aspects in detail."

Answering a relevant question Kasoulides said Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides would continue negotiating the Cyprus problem until the end of his term in office in February 2003.

The UN Secretary-General put forward to the two parties on November 11 a proposal, which, he said, he believes can form the basis for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The National Council, comprising parliamentary parties, recommended on Monday by majority vote that President Glafcos Clerides negotiates the UN proposal with a view at finding a political settlement in Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot side has yet to reply to Kofi Annan's request to say whether it accepts the proposal as a basis to negotiate an agreement.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.

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