CYPRUS: Statement by the President of the Republic of Cyprus
Tassos Papadopoulus «View Bio

The president of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Tassos Papadopoulus, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, met in New York last week where they agreed to resume negotiations to end the island"s 30-year division. The two leaders are scheduled to resume talks on the UN plan in Cyprus on February 19. The goal is to conclude the talks by March 22, before separate referendums in April. Before leaving New York, President Papadopoulus made the following statement:

New York February 13, 2004

I emphasize, that our side for some time, has been seeking and has submitted a written request to the UNSG to resume talks on the basis of the Annan plan, with the goal of reuniting our island before the 1st of May 2004 and our entry into the EU. In New York, it was agreed to resume the direct talks. If they succeed or not will depend upon the change of stance of the Turkish side and whether they will demonstrate the necessary political will.

In the same spirit and with complete agreement in policy among the political leaders who accompanied me and along with the Greek Government, we once again attended the talks in New York.

From the first moment in our meetings with the Secretary General and his representatives we submitted our proposals, on the one hand repeating those that I had submitted in Brussels, as well as new suggestions on the basis of documents that had been brought to our attention by the Secretary General and his representatives.

I would like to highlight a few points:

The efforts put forward by our side brought the Turkish Cypriot side back to the negotiating table, on the basis of the Annan plan, which until recently they characterized as "dead and buried".

The role of the Secretary-General to decide on the points where there will be continued deadlock, is now limited to the basis of the plan and does not apply to issues outside the plan that the Turkish Cypriot side might bring up.

Third and very importantly is the involvement of the EU (Commission) during all stages of negotiations, in a multifaceted manner and on various levels.

The bicommunal talks are enlarged with the presence of Greece and Turkey working in a collaborative and supportive role to support the efforts for a final outcome of the talks and the solution of the Cyprus problem. The enlarged negotiations will be carried out always under the aegis of the United Nations and within the parameters of the Good Offices of the Secretary-General.

According to assurances of the Secretary-General, the submission of the finalized plan to the Security Council, as is common practice, will occur before its finalization and he himself mentioned that it is in line with his position as guardian of the Charter of the UN and the decisions of the Security Council.

Our side displayed complete unity and I would like to express my deep appreciation to the political leaders who accompanied me to New York as well as to all officials for their substantial presence and support. I would like to especially praise former President Glafcos Clerides for his continued support and presence in all the meetings with the Secretary-General and his advisers.

Also close, was our cooperation with the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Costas Simitis, with whom I was in continual contact, the Government of Greece in general and its representatives here with whom we have identical positions.

Our side will continue with the same positive stance to seek a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan and the accession of a reunited Cyprus to the EU on the 1st of May 2004.