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National Council examines resumption of Cyprus peace process
2003-01-03 15:11:09

Nicosia, Jan 3 (CNA) -- Issues which concern the Cyprus problem and the resumption of the UN-led process for a Cyprus settlement were examined during a meeting of the National Council here Friday, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou announced afterwards.

"The National Council dealt with the latest developments in Cyprus, the expected return to the island of UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, and the resumption of the process for a Cyprus settlement", the Spokesman said.

The top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem also dealt with letters UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had sent to President Glafcos Clerides, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Greece and Turkey, as well as President Clerides' reply sent on December 30.

According to Papapetrou, President Clerides reconfirmed in his reply letter the position of the Greek Cypriot side to contribute constructively in efforts to find a Cyprus settlement.|

The Spokesman said the Council further examined recent statements made on Cyprus by Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. An analysis of the general situation in Turkey and the Turkish- occupied northern part of Cyprus was also studied by the National Council, which has decided the next steps to be taken.

Invited to say how the new effort to solve the Cyprus problem will begin, the Spokesman avoided replying, saying that "we should expect the return on January 13 of de Soto, who will probably meet Clerides on the following day and ascertain the way we will proceed."

Papapetrou said the UN diplomat had informed the Greek Cypriot side that before his return to Cyprus he would visit New York and on January 8 Athens and later on Ankara.

The Spokesman said there is an "international determination to promote a solution to the Cyprus problem within the timeframe which has been set" by the UN chief.

"This is the position of the European Union, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General in his letter, and the position of Greece and from what it seems, of Turkey too", reminding that the Greek Cypriot side committed in Copenhagen to work towards a solution until the end of February.

"At this phase, the only voice of discord is Mr. Denktash", he noted.

The Spokesman added there had been no contact between President Clerides and Denktash, following statements by the latter that he would request a meeting with Clerides on his return from Ankara to the occupied part of Cyprus.

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


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