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Clerides seeks 16-month mandate
2003-01-03 09:50:25

Nicosia, Jan 3 (CNA) ? Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides announced here Friday he will seek a new mandate which will give him enough time to complete negotiations for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem and complete the island's accession to the European Union.

In a state address, Clerides said he is seeking a 16-month term in office with the sole aim to handle the national problem, together with the National Council. He also pledged to achieve national unity and called upon all political forces for the creation of a broadly accepted government.

The President's statement is as follows:

"Everybody is aware of my intention to retire from politics at the end of my second term in office. In any case, I would have concluded a complete political career, especially after the historic decision of Copenhagen for Cyprus' accession to the European Union. This was for me, an easy decision.

The hard decision is the one that I am now asked to take, because this decision is not determined by my personal wishes but by my historic duty. A duty, which I have never turned down.

Developments are fast and historic. These will judge the future of Cyprus. In the next months, we will be asked to take great decisions. We have a duty to seek, with determination and prudence a functional solution to the Cyprus problem. My historic duty obliges me to rise to this great challenge. I do not have the luxury to put forward personal choices. It is the time for national duty which leaves no one outside.

The time left until my term in office expires is limited, and to negotiate a just and viable solution, I need sufficient time and a new, clear mandate. A mandate, which will come through democratic procedures. That is why I feel that my historic duty imposes on me to seek this mandate during the forthcoming presidential elections. A mandate of limited duration.

For this reason, I am committed on two things:

First, the mandate I am seeking will be limited to 16 months, with a sole aim to handle the national issue together with the National Council and to complete the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.

Secondly, to avoid any conflict and to achieve the aim of national unity, I will call upon all political forces for the creation of a broadly accepted government. Therefore the handling of internal administration will be carried out with the broadest possible consent.

It is not my intention to organise a pre-election campaign and to argue with any possible candidate. It is for me a time of responsibility, a time for unity.

I ask everyone's trust, the support of the left, centre, socialist and right (forces). Armed with your strength, I will be able to continue to negotiate towards finding a solution, which will be to the benefit of the entire people of Cyprus.

I am asking you to give me a strong mandate so that everyone united, we can handle the greatest historical challenge of Cyprus. A challenge which will determine the future of all, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians and Latins", the President concluded.|

CNA/MM/EC/KN/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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