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Media Watch 2004

02 June 2004
Source: Cyprus News Agency
Author:
Comment: The following is a report of the Cyprus News Agency of Nicosia of 02 June 2004.
Cyprus President: solution must serve interests of Cypriots
"What is important is to find an agreed solution between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots for our own interest, rather than serve the interests of the outsiders, mainly of Turkey, or the Europeans, or the US or other countries,'' he said, adding that the Turkey had nearly all its demands met during talks in Switzerland... "nobody can be or is more disappointed than ourselves that we did not find a solution" ...He said one could not have a fair solution, when one was negotiating under the guns of 35.000 troops which occupy one's country... "this one, offered to us, was neither functional nor it would achieve the reunification of our country"... Papadopoulos said any measures to be taken should aim at reunification and pointed out that the government would never agree to two separate states in Cyprus, and said he did not believe that the EU would accept it either."

Boston, Jun 2 (CNA) -- An agreed political settlement in Cyprus should serve the interests of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots rather than those of outsiders, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed, pointing out that Greek Cypriots can accept a hard solution as a fair one cannot be found at gunpoint.

President Papadopoulos told a distinguished audience at Harvard University that Cyprus would not block Turkey's European aspirations, if the other 24 EU members decide that Ankara met the requirements laid down by Brussels.

He also said that the people of Cyprus were disappointed at the absence of a solution, following the rejection in April of a UN-proposed plan, but others felt let down because their own designs had not been served. Responding to questions, he acknowledged that political developments globally were not resolved on legal grounds and indicated that strength gave people liberty to bypass international law and order.

''What is important is to find an agreed solution between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots for our own interest, rather than serve the interests of the outsiders, mainly of Turkey, or the Europeans, or the US or other countries,'' he said, adding that the Turkey had nearly all its demands met during talks in Switzerland.

He dismissed suggestions that Cyprus was isolated in the world arena and outlined a long list of meetings and visits to the island by heads of state, saying he did not feel isolated. With regard to the absence of meetings in Washington, he said the time was not right and there was no request for any meeting.

Papadopoulos said the disappointment among Europeans was understandable but stressed that ''nobody can be or is more disappointed than ourselves that we did not find a solution.''

''Our disappointment is because we are there. People under occupation and oppression and therefore we are the ones who we really want this to be rectified as soon as possible. The others are disappointed probably because their own plans have not been served as planned. But for us it is a question of survival as a state,'' he added.

Asked about the effect Cyprus' accession to the EU could have on future prospects for talks, he expressed hope that the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of the UN plan would not spurn other countries to try and solidify the partition by measures or steps that would prevent reunification.

''If and when the other 24 equal members of the EU would decide that Turkey meets all the requirements to join the EU, or to get a date for accession negotiations, Cyprus will not object. Cyprus would welcome Turkey in the EU provided that Turkey would comply with the requirements of the EU and would behave as a European state, respecting the acquis communataire which certainly prohibits any member state to have invasion troops on the soil of another European country,'' he said with regard to Turkey-EU ties.

Responding to other questions, he said that ''political developments in the world today are not resolved on legal grounds and international law and order has many interpretations, as many as the interests of those who violate these rights.''

''The stronger you are, the more liberty you are given to bypass that. We however in Cyprus must be realistic enough that you don't start a solution from a blank page, meaning, we don't start from zero. We have in Cyprus a situation of occupation which you can not remove by any other way except by a negotiated settlement. We should be ready to make sacrifices to accept that the solution cannot be fair,'' he said.

He said one could not have a fair solution, when one was negotiating under the guns of 35.000 troops which occupy one's country. ''The solution must be bitter. If the solution will be hard for Greek Cypriots, let it be. If you cannot have a fair solution at least let's have a solution that will be durable, viable because the system provided will be functional. And this one, offered to us, was neither functional nor it would achieve the reunification of our country,'' he explained.

On the role of cultural and scientific exchanges, President Papadopoulos said these played a great part in bringing about a solution, adding that his government would encourage further development of relations between the island's two communities.

He said Cyprus had asked the EU to give now the Turkish Cypriots the 259 million euros which would have been given to them had there been a solution and said the government had liberalised trade between the two communities and was engaged in discussions with the Turkish Cypriots and the EU about securing absolute freedom of movement between persons, capital, enterprises and businesses.

Papadopoulos said any measures to be taken should aim at reunification and pointed out that the government would never agree to two separate states in Cyprus, and said he did not believe that the EU would accept it either.

Concluding he said, that the Greek Cypriots failed to be satisfied by the present version of the Annan plan, but that did not lead to a rejection of a solution.

''On the contrary, we need, we have to redouble our efforts, to convince friendly governments, including that of the US, that the decision of the people must be respected and this in not a cause for either vindictive, punitive attitude against the people for exercising their rights and to see that a new renewed effort must be done on the basis of the Annan plan, but this time meeting the concerns, the genuine concerns of the Greek Cypriots of the island,'' he said."