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Greek Cypriot side withdraws reply to UN chief
2002-12-05 11:44:05

Nicosia, Dec 5 (CNA) -- The Greek Cypriot side withdrew here Thursday a document it delivered midnight to the United Nations with comments and suggestions to the points it wished changed in a Cyprus solution plan submitted by the UN chief on November 11.

Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou expressed regret over the incident which took place after it was revealed that the Turkish side had failed to hand over its reply simultaneously, as it had been arranged.

The Spokesman criticised the delaying tactics followed by the Turkish Cypriot side, noting the government of Cyprus wants only one thing, to take advantage of the current conditions on Cyprus and achieve a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

Papapetrou read a written statement of President Glafcos Clerides explaining developments regarding the Greek Cypriot side's reply to UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan's letter of November 25.

The Cypriot official said on November 29, President Clerides informed UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, that he was ready to give "the comments, suggestions or requests of the Greek Cypriot side as soon as he was informed that Mr. (Rauf) Denktash would do the same".

In his chronicle of the events, Clerides said that on December 4 at 10.30 pm De Soto called to say that the Turkish side was going to give its reply by 11.15 pm. Half an hour later, at around 11 pm, he telephoned again and said the Turkish side was going to hand its reply in New York at 11.30. "Therefore, in the light of all these assurances, the Greek Cypriot side's reply was handed to de Soto at 11.48 pm, thus implementing the agreement that the documents would be handed simultaneously", the Spokesman explained.

"This morning, at around 8.50 am (local time), de Soto contacted Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros and informed him that, unfortunately, the Turkish side had not given its reply, and asked that President Clerides be informed on the development. President Clerides immediately instructed Mr. Kouros to ask Mr. de Soto to return the Greek Cypriot side's document, which indeed took place at 9.30 am".

"I think that the Turkish side's behaviour is once again open for assumptions by anyone and also the UN Secretary-General", Papapetrou noted.

Asked what made the Turkish Cypriot side change its mind, Papapetrou said the UN referred to "technical reasons", that the fax machine was not functioning properly, but the UN said the reply would be given in the next hours.

The Spokesman referred journalists to de Soto to explain what grounds he had to believe the Turkish side would hand over its reply.

Expressing regret over the incident, Papapetrou replied negatively when asked if the Greek Cypriot side would change its stance against the Turkish side.

"The Greek Cypriot side has been faced with similar delaying tactics for 28 years", the Spokesman said, noting that this should come to an end so that "we can enter a negotiation with good will and overcome the problems. We want only one thing, to take advantage of the current conditions to solve the Cyprus problem", the Spokesman added.|

Earlier Thursday Attorney General Alecos Markides revealed that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides replied to Annan's letter.

Annan had asked Clerides and Denktash to make known to Alvaro de Soto, their comments, suggestions or requests on his suggested basis for agreement on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, so as to enable the process to move forward.

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


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