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Schwimmer: consensus between G/C and T/C parties for Cyprus solution
2003-01-10 12:24:38

Nicosia, Jan 9 (CNA) ? Council of Europe Secretary-General, Walter Schwimmer, said he saw a very broad consensus among Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot politicians to solve the Cyprus problem based on the UN Secretary-General's plan.

Schwimmer, who took part in a bicommunal meeting between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties at the Ledra Palace hotel in the buffer zone, said, "there is no alternative to solution of the Cyprus issue by reunification of the island."

On his part, House President Demetris Christofias said "everyone's wish to find a solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest was once again reiterated".

Schwimmer described the meeting with the leaders of the parties from both sides of the green line "as very important", noting he was "very glad to see a very broad consensus".

"No solution can be imposed", Schwimmer remarked, adding "the Kofi Annan plan is a very good basis for negotiations", and that the final result must be a result achieved by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.|

Christofias said they talked about violations of international law, human rights, issues concerning the presence of settlers in the occupied areas, and which are raised in the Annan plan.

General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus Party, Izet Izcan, said time is running out for a solution, adding that "we missed the first train in Copenhagen and we like to catch it on 28 of February."

He said he asked Schwimmer and the CoE "to have their eyes on Cyprus'' and positively help towards a solution to the Cyprus problem.

He said the Turkish Cypriot community could do a lot, such as take a decisive stand, and increase its campaign in the occupied north by organizing more demonstrations soon.

"We have made it known to the world that we are not recognising Denktash as a representative of T/C because he is not supporting our interests" and called on the Greek Cypriot community "to help not the T/C but Cyprus" towards reunification and supporting the Annan plan, and be "flexible and constructive", as it is the only way to bring a solution.

Republican Turkish Party leader, Mehmet Ali Talat said messages coming from Turkey are not clear but they show the compelling necessity of the rectification of the Turkish policy for Cyprus. He expressed hope there will be a "good and real rectification of the Turkish foreign policy for Cyprus" because Turkish Cypriots are not confident about their future and that is why they are demonstrating and want a viable solution based on Annan's plan and are demanding the resignation of Rauf Denktash because he does not represent the interests of the T/C community.

Talat announced next Tuesday the Turkish Cypriots would demonstrate again for their opinions regarding the Cyprus problem and give an important and powerful signal to the world, to Turkey and to Denktash that they want a solution in Cyprus.

Schwimmer, completed his visit to the island with a visit to the ceasefire line in Nicosia, dividing the Turkish occupied north from the free areas of the Republic.

Signing the book at the observation point located at Ledra Street, one of the main commercial streets in Nicosia, which ends abruptly halfway because of the dividing line, Schwimmer wished "for a Europe without dividing lines. This righteous wish of the CoE should be implemented in this beautiful island and capital of Nicosia".

He said he is quite optimistic that this historic chance will be used and that the Cyprus issue will be solved and appealed to the leaders from both sides of the divide to unite the island and bring the two people together again.

In a speech Wednesday night at the University of Cyprus entitled "The CoE, the Protection of Human Rights and the future European Architecture", Schwimmer said, "a divided Cyprus may also remain weak within the reformed structure of the European Union."

The SG said the CoE has not forgotten "the citizens (the Turkish Cypriots) of Europe that are living beyond the Green Line and my hope and the hope of millions of other Europeans is to see them soon joining our family."

He said given Cyprus' geographic position and history, the CoE is counting "very much on the Cypriot input to develop" the Mediterranean dimension of Europe as well as inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.

UN-led talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are set to continue next week when Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto returns to the island.

The Secretary-General has said an opportunity remains particularly until the 28th of February to resolve the Cyprus problem and achieve a comprehensive settlement which will allow a re-united Cyprus to get in the European Union.

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


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