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Media Watch 2004

20 February 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Andreas Hadjipapas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 20 February 2004.
Long, difficult road to a solution - Tassos

THE road to a final solution will be “long and difficult,” President Tassos Papadopoulos said on his return from the New York talks.

But he pledged to “work intensely, day and night, in the coming weeks, to achieve the improvements we seek to the Annan plan, despite the “tight timeframes”.

His primary concern was to reach a settlement that would serve the interests of all the people of Cyprus, a solution which would be functional and viable and within the framework of the UN blueprint. He noted that the Cypriot people would have the final say on any outcome.

The President emphasised three main points regarding the result of the New York discussions.

He welcomed the “greater role” the European Union would have in a Cyprus settlement; praised the “solid unity” shown by the Greek Cypriot politicians accompanying him; and he doubted Turkish intentions.

Old stance
Papadopoulos said a successful outcome of the new round of negotiations would depend primarily on whether the Turkish side had mended its policies - whether it wanted a reunited Cyprus to enter the EU or whether it stuck to its old stance for a divided island.

“This was not made completely clear in the New York discussions and I want to tell the Cypriot people that nothing has yet been finalised.”

Apparently in possession of the position paper presented in New York by the Turkish Cypriot side, Papadopoulos said some of the demands put forward by Rauf Denktash were “entirely outside the Annan plan and we certainly have no intention of accepting them”.

Under the New York deal, points raised by any side that were outside the Annan plan would not be considered during the coming talks, he remarked. In the event of a deadlock, when the SG would be called to fill in any gaps, and finalise the text, this would be done “on the basis” of the Annan plan.

He recalled that the Turkish Cypriot leadership had until recently rejected the Annan plan which it called “dead and buried”.

The most important change from previous rounds of talks was that these would now be enlarged, with Greece, Turkey and the European Union getting directly involved and offering their assistance and support.

Good offices
“The broadened negotiations will always be conducted under the auspices of the UN and within the framework of the SG’s good offices.”

“The role of the EU has been significantly upgraded and I have assurances from (Enlargement Commissioner ) Gunther Verheugen and the UN Secretary-General that the European Commision’s role will be continuous, manifold and at all levels and stages of the negotiations.”

Papadopoulos warmly thanked the political party leaders that accompanied him to New York - Akel chief Demetris Christofias, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and socialist Edek chairman Yannakis Omirou.

His special thanks went to former President Glafkos Clerides who was present at all the meetings in New York. “His very important contribution must be recognised by all and I do this first, from the bottom of my heart. The unity was complete and there was no shade of disagreement”.
Clerides in turn praised Papadopoulos for the “skilful way” he tackled the “tough” negotiations in New York. He showed courage and persistence but was conciliatory and flexible whenever this was required. Clerides urged everyone to give the President “our full support” since the coming talks would be difficult requiring unity and concord. Clerides, 84, a veteran of intercommunal negotiations, said the outcome of the New York discussions was “very favourable for Cyprus.”"