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Media Watch 2003

26 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 26 September 2003.
We should not give up, Tassos tells UN

PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos told the UN General Assembly yesterday that Turkish intransigence was wholly to blame for the failure to reach a Cyprus settlement earlier this year.

“I believe that it is appropriate to mention this here at this stage because as you all know, the continuing and longstanding Turkish intransigence has a few months ago thwarted what was probably the strongest ever initiative of the United Nations for finding a solution in Cyprus,” Papadopoulos said.
He was referring to the collapse of 18 months of intensive talks on the Cyprus issue last March, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to take the Annan solution plan to a referendum in the north.
The Turkish Cypriot side’s stance angered international mediators and resulted in the UN shutting down the office in Cyprus of its special representative Alvaro de Soto.

“We understand and share the bitterness and the disappointment of all involved for the failure, but as I said before we should not give up,” Papadopoulos added.

“We always counted on UN support and involvement and we will continue to do so.”

Papadopoulos also made it clear that the Greek Cypriot side was always ready to return to the negotiating table on the basis of the UN plan whenever Secretary-general Kofi Annan decided to invite the parties for talks. However, Annan has said he has no intention of doing so until both parties are willing to resume negotiations. Denktash is not, having declared the plan “dead and buried”.

But the Turkish Cypriot leader is facing strong opposition in the north, which hopes to oust him in the December parliamentary elections.
“We hope that soon it will be possible for the other side to realise that they have to return to the negotiating table, co-operate constructively with the Secretary-general and demonstrate the necessary political will to yield a settlement,” Papadopoulos said.

“A solution is urgently needed in Cyprus. A functional and viable solution that will embrace all Cypriots and will allow our country to take its stride and assume fully its place and role within the European family.”
Papadopoulos said that, despite all efforts, Turkish intransigence had not been curbed and their defiance of numerous UN resolutions continued unabated.

“Such an attitude constitutes not only unacceptable behaviour in international relations but is also completely anachronistic and incomprehensible to any rational thought. Furthermore, it is at variance with the will and the wish of the overwhelming majority of the Turkish Cypriots themselves, who are persistently asking for a solution and participation in the accession of Cyprus to the European Union,” the President said.

“We continue as far as we are concerned to do our best to bring them on board and we have embarked on an ambitious policy in order to enhance their standard of living and allow them to fully enjoy rights and benefits that they are entitled to as Cypriots.” "