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Spokesman says outcome of reactions to determine solution
2002-12-16 23:49:21

Nicosia, Dec 16 (CNA) - Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the conflict between the two schools of thought in Turkey and the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus has entered a new era and the outcome will determine whether there will be a solution or not to the Cyprus problem.

Replying to questions on the reaction in the occupied areas following the Copenhagen European Council's decision for Cyprus to enter the EU, and the failure to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem, thus a reunited Cyprus entering the EU, Papapetrou pointed out that it is a fact that there is ''a clear and understandable reaction against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and especially of the way he handled the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement''.

The Spokesman pointed out the way in which this criticism is being applied, noting that it is not merely criticism ''when the opposition parties directly accuse Mr. Denktash of treason''.|

''You realise we are entering a new era, a conflict between two schools of thought, in the occupied areas and Turkey, the outcome of which will make clear whether we will have a solution to the Cyprus problem or not'', he added.

He said the Greek Cypriot side was not concerned with who will represent the Turkish Cypriot community, stressing however that with Denktash at the negotiating table, ''a solution seems far-fetched''.

However, Papapetrou reiterated the government's commitment to enter an intensive effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

He said ''we have pledged that we are ready to enter an intensive effort to venture finding a solution to the Cyprus problem by February 28 on the basis of the Annan plan''.

''This is the commitment before the EU and we will do so'', Papapetrou said.

Regarding the efforts of the UN on Cyprus, the Spokesman expressed the view that ''the UN Security Council will try to maintain the dynamic for a solution to the problem, as it was created after the submission of the Annan plan''.

''There is a dynamic which has been strengthened in a specific way by the EU and the UN for February 28. My view is that if this effort fails, this momentum will be undermined and for a certain period, which might be long, efforts will be undermined'', he added.

Papapetrou said he believes ''there is enough time for negotiations and surely every possible effort will be made''.

''What we need is convergence of views and the two sides to come together on an agreement course'', he added.

The European Council on Friday confirmed its strong preference for accession to the European Union by a united Cyprus and welcomed the commitment of the two sides on the island to continue to negotiate to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by 28 February 2003 on the basis of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's proposals.

Annan put forward a revised peace plan last month aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.


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