Clerides: We are heading towards accession
Nicosia, Nov 28 (CNA) -- ''We are heading towards accession to the
European Union,'' President Glafcos Clerides said here today, when asked by
the press whether there is enough time until the December EU summit to
negotiate a Cyprus settlement.
President Clerides was speaking after the November 28 meeting of the National Council, (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem) which discussed a letter the UN Secretary General sent to the President and Turkish Cypriot Rauf Denktash, asking them to inform him by Saturday about changes they wish to see in a proposal he put forward on a comprehensive settlement.
The Council also discussed the reply given yesterday to Kofi Annan by the Turkish Cypriot leader, who said he was prepared to negotiate on the basis of the UN proposal. The Council will continue its deliberations on Monday.
Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after the meeting that the members of the Council expressed their views and gave the President a free hand in the handling of the whole issue.
Papapetrou noted that the time remaining until December 12 for substantial negotiations has become very tight and recalled the decision of the National Council on November 18 that the timetable proposed by the UN is very tight and consequently the recommended dates with regard to an agreement should not be considered as binding.|
Annan has proposed that a foundation agreement be signed before the EU summit, to be followed by negotiations and a referendum on March 30, before the treary of accession is signed.
Papapetrou said the tight timeframe is an issue to be discussed during the meeting President Clerides will have tomorrow with UN Secretary General's special advisor on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto, who arrives here from Ankara.
Meanwhile Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos said today after meeting President Clerides that as the timeframe until the Copenhagen Summit is becoming much tighter ''we are focusing on (Cyprus') accession.''
Panagopoulos also said that this was the message Greek Foreign Minister conveyed yesterday in Washington to his US counterpart Colin Powell.
Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the Council is examining all issues and all scenarios in depth.
Invited to say whether President Clerides is scheduled to visit New York, Papapetrou replied negatively.
Invited to comment on Denktash' letter to Annan, Papapetrou said the Government had no information about its contents.
''We have to see what the letter says. There is some information but it is conflicting,'' he noted.
Invited to say whether a discussion on the issues which need to be negotiated has started, Papapetrou replied affirmatively noting that this discussion will be intensified Monday.
Answering another question, the Government Spokesman said the subcommittee of the National Council continues to analyze Annan's plan. He said he did not know when the subcommittee would conclude its task.