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Clerides: Accession and solution are two different issues
2002-12-11 22:25:57

Larnaca, Dec 11 (CNA) -- Cyprus' accession to the EU and the solution to the Cyprus problem are two different issues, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides stated here today, on his departure for Copenhagen, where the EU leaders will take final decisions on the Union's enlargament, which includes Cyprus.

Invited to say whether under today's circumstances he will sign an agreement for a Cyprus settlement, President Clerides said that ''under today's circumstances if I listen to some fools then I shouldn't sign for a settlement. If I listen to others who think rationally I must think about it seriously.''

Asked if there will be a signing of UN Secretary General's revised blueprint for a Cyprus settlement by Saturday, Clerides said ''people are concerned with this question and I am concerned to''.

He replied negatively to a question whether he had taken a decision on this matter.

Answering another question Clerides expressed the belief that there is little room for amendments in the UN revised plan submitted to both sides yesterday, noting that this was an issue discussed during yesterday's meeting of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus issue).

Invited to say whether he could negotiate with a representative of the ailing Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash or he wanted to negotiate directly with Denktash, Clerides recalled that in the past he had voiced his opposition to negotiations with someone else apart from Denktash.

''I don't know if Denktash will designate a representative. And I don't know whether if he does I will designate a representative too,'' President Clerides said. He also noted that this was an issue also discussed by the National Council but refrained to elaborate.

Asked whether a solution to the Cyprus problem is linked with Cyprus' accession to the EU, President Clerides stressed that ''our position is that accession is a different issue and the settlement is a different issue.''

Invited to say if he will sign the UN plan if Cyprus' biggest party, the leftwing AKEL is against that, Clerides said he will take into consideration the opinions of all parties represented in the National Council and he will decide what will happen in the light of developments.

Clerides announced that he would meet tonight in Copenhagen with Greek Premier Costas Simitis.

The Cypriot President is flying to Copenhagen on a special Cyprus Airways flight. He is accompanied by Attorney General Alecos Markides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros, AKEL's Secretary General Demetris Christofias, Democratic Rally President Nicos Anastasiades, Democratic Party President Tassos Papadopoulos, Socialdemocrats Movement President Yiannakis Omirou, Struggling Democratic Movement President Dinos Michaelides and Foreign Ministry officials.

The United Democrats President George Vassiliou was to fly today to Copenhagen from Brussels.

Two small parties, the New Horizons and the Ecologists-Environmentalists, with one seat in the 56-member House of Represntatives, have decided not to accompany President Clerides to Copenhagen.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will join the Cyprus delegation later today. He will fly to Copenhagen from Rome, where he was scheduled to meet his Italian counterpart.|

Cyprus, which has concluded accession negotiations with the EU, is expected to be invited at the Copenhagen Summit along with other nine candidate countries to join the EU in 2004.

The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


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