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Media Watch 2004

17 February 2004
Source: Haravgi
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in Haravgi of Nicosia on 17 February 2004.
We are entering the last and most difficult phase
"there are aspects in the plan in need of improvement to make the solution more functional and compatible with the European preconditions, with the so-called 'European Acquis.' This will be the focus of the negotiation. And it will be a very tough negotiation." George Papandreou, Pasok leader

Our aim is a functional and viable solution compatible with the EU Acquis

PASOK leader George Papandreou characterized the decision for resumption of the talks in Cyprus, next Thursday, as “very important” because “we are possibly entering the last and most difficult phase of the negotiations for a Cyprus solution.”

In his interview with Alpha TV, Mr. Papandreou pointed out that Greece’s firm ambition was “that the European Union would play a role,” adding that “we wouldn’t have these developments, which we sought, if we hadn’t achieved the accession of Cyprus, in fact without a prior solution to the political problem.”

He mentioned that Greece requested the presence of the European Union, but “not as a negotiator. We don’t want the European Union to be a negotiator. The UN, Kofi Annan, is the negotiator.”

“We are talking about a procedure under the auspices of the UN, and thus of the UN decisions, with an essential participation of the European Union. As for the participation of the two countries, Greece and Turkey, it is imperative in case of pending issues. It is also imperative, according to the Annan Plan, for security issues. So, we are talking about an entirely different scheme on which we also had an understanding with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, with whom we enjoy a harmonious collaboration,” he said.

To a question whether there is any danger that Cyprus EU accession could be connected in any way with the solution to the Cyprus issue once more, Mr. Papandreou gave a negative answer.

“We managed to turn the accession of Cyprus into a positive negotiation tool for us, for the Greek-Cypriot side and for the Greek side. The accession is virtually over. There is no question of non-accession of Cyprus. So the point is whether the other side wants to have a reunited Cyprus entering the EU or not,” PASOK leader underlined.

He noted that “we are in a very strong negotiating position. What is needed is serious preparation. This already exists but constant preparation is needed for any developments regarding the opening of negotiations so as to have the best viable and fair solution.”

To a question whether the Annan plan is viable, Mr. Papandreou said that “there are various organs. There are various forms of participation and various majorities. The Annan plan is based on principles, which are to the agreement of both the Greek and the Greek-Cypriot side. This was a prerequisite, common sovereignty was another. Other than that, there are aspects in the plan in need of improvement to make the solution more functional and compatible with the European preconditions, with the so-called “European Acquis.” This will be the focus of the negotiation. And it will be a very tough negotiation.”

Asked whether there is any chance of overturning the prescribed course of the Cyprus issue, if New Democracy wins the elections in Greece, Mr. Papandreou said that “if New Democracy wins the elections, a different course could be followed in many fields.”"