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Media Watch 2003

04 May 2003
Source: Sunday Mail
Author: Sofia Kannas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Sunday Mail of Nicosia on 4 May 2003
Government 'ready for immediate talks'

THE GOVERNMENT is ready to resume "immediate negotiations" on a solution to the Cyprus Problem, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday.

His statement was made in response to recent comments by UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto that UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan must hear the leaders of the two sides on the island, as well those of Greece and Turkey, say that they are truly committed to reaching a solution within a specific time frame.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail yesterday, Chrysostomides confirmed that the National Council had agreed that an immediate resumption of negotiations was desirable.

"The decisions of the National Council are very clear and we are ready for immediate negotiations as stipulated in the decisions," he said. "This is a common stand taken by Cyprus in conjunction with the Greek government."

He added that the Secretary-general had been informed of the government's position in a letter sent to him by President Tassos Papadopoulos last month.

"Mr Annan knows our position because all these documents have been communicated to him, in particular in a letter by the President of the Republic of April 2," he said. "The stance taken by the Secretary General is known, as stipulated in his latest report to theSecurity Council."

Chrysostomides reiterated that the recent partial easing of restrictions on the free movement of Cypriots could not substitute a political solution.

"Nobody in Cyprus would logically wish to replace negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus problem by a relapse to negotiations on confidence-building measures," he said.

Asked when the negotiations might resume, Chrysostomides said he expected the"commencement of immediate negotiations" within the next few days."