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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 03-04-19
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Papadopoulos and Simitis begin talks
Papadopoulos and Simitis begin talks
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is also current President of the European Council, began here this morning talks on issues on the Cyprus question, the European Union and other related matters.
A guard of honour welcomed Simitis to the Presidential Palace, as President Papadopoulos greeted him.
The Greek premier laid a wreath at the statue of the first President of the Cyprus Republic, Archbishop Makarios III.
Simitis, who embarked on a 24-hour visit to Cyprus the first stop in his 24-nation tour of EU member states, is accompanied by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and other officials.
Earlier today the Greek premier and his entourage visited the Imprisoned Tombs, graves of Greek Cypriots killed during the anti-colonial struggle in the mid-50s, where he laid a wreath.
 Simitis and Papadopoulos continue talks
Simitis and Papadopoulos continue talks
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) Delegations from Cyprus and Greece continue their talks in Nicosia this morning, chaired by Greek Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Talks are set to wrap up soon and Simitis will meet leaders of parliamentary parties, after which he and Papadopoulos will give a press conference.
Prior to the talks Simitis, who arrived last night on the island for a 24-hour visit, laid a wreath at the statue of the late President, Archbishop Makarios III, situated in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace.
Taking part in the talks from the Greek side are Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Acting Press Minister, Tilemachos Hitiris, Greeces Ambassador in Nicosia, Christos Panagopoulos, and other ministry Foreign Ministry officials.
On the Cypriot side Foreign Minister, George Iacovou, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrisostomides, head of the Cyprus Division at the Foreign Ministry and Director of the President's Diplomatic Office Ambassador Tasos Tzionis and Cyprus' Ambassador in Athens, Ambassador Leonidas Pantelis are attending, among others, the talks.
 Greece - Cyprus agree on future strategy
Greece - Cyprus agree on future strategy
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus and Greece have agreed on the future steps they will take, reiterated their common adherence to finding a peaceful settlement of the political problem and said a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement is basis for negotiations to find a workable solution, consistent with UN resolutions.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Greek Prime Minister and current president of the European Council Costas Simitis, read a joint communitque that expressed the common view that the current deadlock in the peace effort is due to delaying tactics by the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot sides.
The two leaders stressed the need to intensify efforts so that by May 1, 2004 Cyprus is aligned with the EU acquis comunautaire and implements EU rules and regulations.
They expressed the hope that the Turkish government will make second thoughts about its policy on Cyprus and said a change of heart would also help Ankara's European aspirations.
President Papadopoulos briefed Simitis on his government's policy towards the Turkish Cypriots and especially measures to assist them.
 Christofias: Turkey must abandon Euro aspirations...
Christofias: Turkey must abandon Euro aspirations...
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Cyprus House of Representatives President, Demetris Christofias, stressed here today that Turkey ''should abandon its European aspirations'' if it continues to be an occupation force and prolongs the division of Cyprus.
Addressing an extraordinary session of the House of Representatives on the occasion of the visit to Cyprus by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President, Costas Simitis, Christofias reassured the Greek Cypriot side will continue working towards a Cyprus settlement, noting that now that the vision of accession is being implemented, our desire to live together with our Turkish Cypriot becomes even more ardent.
Commenting on Simitis visit, Christofias said it is symbolic and comes only two days after the signing of the Accession Treaty to the European Union. It underlines the unabated interest and wholehearted solidarity which the Prime Minister, the Greek government, the leadership and people of Greece express to Cyprus and its people, he said.
During the difficult times of the occupation and the de facto division, Christofias said, Greece has provided firm support and undisputable refuge in securing the present and future of our people.
He thanked the Greek political leadership, the Foreign Minister, the Greek government and the people, and paid special tribute to Cypriot Yiannos Kranidiotis, the late Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece, in Cyprus' European course.
With the signing of the Accession Treaty to the EU, Cyprus fulfils the great ambition of its people. The forthcoming accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the Union will implement one of the two fundamental, strategic aims which we have set as a country, during difficult times, especially for small and weak countries, Christofias said.
Undoubtedly accession opens up a new era for our people, opens up new prospects and brings us before unique challenges. It will require great work and great effort to implement the obligations which we undertake to harmonise with Europes acquis, he added.
State and people, we will work hard together to respond to our obligations, Christofias pledged.
Unfortunately, the main strategic aim, that of getting rid of the occupation and reunification of our country and people, under a bizonal, bicommunal federation umbrella, has not been achieved despite the keen efforts of the last years, Christofias remarked.
The House President said this has not been achieved, despite the good will exhibited by the Greek Cypriot side over the years and this is due to Ankara's and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktashs negative stance and their insistence on the division of the sovereign and united Cyprus, and the creation of two separate sovereign states on the island.
The philosophy of the Turkish side which prevents a solution to the Cyprus problem is contrary to all UN resolutions and agreements which the Turkish Cypriot leader had signed, Christofias said.
He said that accession to the EU was viewed as a lever to promote a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, given Turkeys aspiration to enter the Union too.
The time has come for Turkey to realise that if it continues to act in the same manner on Cyprus, if it continues to remain an occupation force and prolong division, it will have to abandon its European dreams, said Christofias.
He reiterated the willingness of the Greek Cypriot side to continue working hard and with consistency to implement the main strategic aim which is a solution to the Cyprus problem.
In the light of the latest Security Council resolution 1475, we are ready to continue efforts to find a solution, negotiating on the basis of the Annan plan, with the aim to reunify the island, lift the occupation and secure the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Christofias pledged.
He also said that now that the vision of accession is being fulfilled, our insistence to reunify our country becomes even greater, our desire to live together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in a united, European Cyprus, becomes more fervent.
 Simitis: we want adjustment of solution to EU principles
Simitis: we want adjustment of solution to EU principles
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Costas Simitis stressed here today that a political settlement in Cyprus should be consistent with the acquis communautaire, and indicated that now conditions are more conducive to achieving this objective.
Speaking at a joint press conference after talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, he said that Greece and Cyprus are seeking improvements to a UN peace proposal on a comprehensive settlement to render the state that would emerge more functional.
Simitis expressed the view that a strong Cyprus, within the EU, would help the Republic deal more effectively with other issues that concern it.
Asked if certain provisions in the UN proposal have actually been overtaken by events, through the accession of Cyprus to the EU, Simitis said that ''each day creates some new circumstances that must be taken into consideration but it would be rather risky to say that now one or the other provision cannot be applied.''
''Nonetheless I believe that the possibilities are now better'' than in the past, he added.
Asked how the UN peace proposal can become more compatible with the acquis communautaire, Simitis said ''the plan is a basis for negotiations, some issues are regulated in such a way that we believe should be improved to render the solution more viable and make the state function more effectively.''
''We believe that there could be an improvement of arrangements relating to the implementation of the acquis communautaire and as we have said in the past, we shall seek in any future negotiations to have such improvements,'' Simitis explained.
Improved application of the acquis communautaire will ensure better integration of Cyprus into EU processes, he explained, stressing that ''this is why we want an adjustment of the solutions to the acquis communautaire.''
''One must not think that a system can work within the EU if this system does not have the same principles, the same arrangements and the same directions as those of the EU,'' Simitis explained.
''I would like to point out that as of Wednesday (when Cyprus signed the Accession Treaty in Athens) there are plenty of problems that affect Cyprus, relate to the EU, which will play a role in formulating a policy of Cyprus which should concern us all, such as funds, resources and labour policy,'' Simitis noted.
He said that ''the political question of Cyprus has now been placed in a wider framework, and here in Cyprus we have to be careful of this because if Cyprus becomes a strong partner, through initiatives, with opinions, for example on Mediterranean issues, then Cyprus can facilitate to a great extent its position on other issues.''
Simitis dismissed Turkish Cypriot claims that Cyprus' accession is illegal, pointing out that it does not contradict existing treaties and stressing that the continuation of the current division and occupation is illegal.
Commenting on the same claims, President Papadopoulos said that the EU has examined these claims three times and rejected them as unfounded legally and politically.
''As for the Turkish Cypriots I have said repeatedly that we want to see them participate through a reunited Cyprus in the benefits the Union will offer our country,'' he said.
Replying to questions, Simitis said he does not intend to call on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to assume new initiatives on Cyprus and said political will for a solution must exist before any moves are made.
''We shall act in a way to create a better climate and show to the other side that its positions lead to deadlock and create the conviction that a solution can be achieved, we need to change the environment for the better,'' he added.
Simitis said in the effort to find a settlement there are some important landmarks, such as 1 May 2004 when Cyprus formally joins the EU, and said pressure for solution as time passes will increase.
''As time passes Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will begin to feel the need to create the preconditions that would enable them to achieve other goals, relating to the start of accession negotiations,'' between Ankara and the EU, Simitis said.
Asked if he thought Turkey and Greece should be more involved in the peace process, the premier said that the island's two communities should have the initiative to discuss the solution, a discussion that will bear fruit only if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash accepts the key elements of the Annan plan.
On the use of Turkish as an EU language, Simitis said the EU will decide on that when there is a solution in Cyprus.
A joint communique, read by Simitis after the talks, said that the two leaders ''reviewed the question of Cyprus, following the collapse of the UN-led talks, and we agreed on our future steps, how to handle the issue.''
''We reiterated our joint adherence to the search for a peaceful solution through negotiations and stressed that we both consider a UN peace proposal as basis for negotiations to find a workable and viable solution in line with UN resolutions and the principles on which the EU is founded,'' it said.
''We underlined our support to the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General and expressed our view that the accession of Cyprus to the EU will contribute substantially to making headway towards a solution,'' the two heads of state noted.
''We both believe that the present stalemate in the peace effort as well as the continuation of the current unacceptable situation are due to delaying tactics on the part of the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot sides,'' the communique said.
If these two sides, particularly the Turkish Cypriot side continues its intransigent stance, it will prevent a settlement and the reunification of Cyprus and it will also deny the Turkish Cypriots the opportunity to benefit from the prosperity which accession to the EU will bring, it remarked.
Both leaders expressed hope ''that the Turkish government will review its policy in a fundamental way and that it will understand that it is in its own interests to solve the Cyprus question as soon as possible.''
''The solution of the problem will facilitate relations between Athens and Ankara and will help Turkey's course for European integration and it will create stability and security in the region,'' it said.
''We stressed the need to intensify our efforts so that by 1 May 2004 Cyprus will be in a position to implement the acquis communautaire and be aligned with all its contractual obligations towards the Union,'' it said.
Simitis said that Papadopoulos briefed him on government policy towards the Turkish Cypriots and in particular the first package of measures the government intends to announce to improve living conditions of the Turkish Cypriot community and safeguard the rights and benefits emanating from the EU for the Turkish Cypriots.
 Weather and Temperatures for Cyprus
 EU offers change for the better, says Simitis
EU offers change for the better, says Simitis
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Accession to the European Union offers Cyprus the possibility to strengthen its position and have a larger political clout than the island's small size would suggest, Greek Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Costas Simitis believes.
In his address to an extraordinary session of the House plenary, Simitis urged the Cypriots to abandon old-fashioned thinking and approaches and he indicated that new adjustments and initiatives are needed for today.
The Greek premier said that Cyprus is an ideal candidate, as an EU partner, to serve the Union's interests as far as its Mediterranean policy is concerned.
Simitis called on Ankara to show its political will to see a reunited Cyprus with deeds not words and reiterated that the dividing line on the island does not serve Turkey's interests.
He concluded his speech on an optimistic note, saying that the future can be very different and better as new conditions emerge which could pave the way for a lasting political settlement in Cyprus.
''The experience of our success (to see Cyprus sign the Accession Treaty) should serve as a guide to our next steps. We all know that unfortunately, our other major national goal, that of reuniting Cyprus, has not been achieved,'' Simitis said.
The EU, he pointed out, offers new prospects and hope that after so many years of Turkish occupation the future can be different and better.
''We have hope that gradually we can create on the island new conditions which will allow the people of Cyprus to develop their capacity and justify the EU decision to accept the island in its ranks and help us see Greece and Cyprus can move along together to a better future,'' Simitis told a packed House.
The premier said that each EU member state can boost its standing within the Union and have the opportunity to strengthen its voice in a way that would enable it to influence developments beyond the capability afforded to it by its economy or population. ''We can create a new political chapter which can multiply the obvious benefits that would emerge from accession,'' he said.
He said everybody and especially the Cypriots have to adjust to new challenges and new circumstances worldwide and people need to give up defensive positions and approaches that relate to old problems.
''We need not bring up issues which our partners cannot understand because the problems our era is facing are different. We need new adjustments, new directions and new initiatives, we all have to do that,'' he said.
Simitis told Cypriots that the EU is still trying to define its Mediterranean policy and expressed the view that ''Cyprus is ideal to contribute to the formulation of this policy and help the EU to follow some other routes, more effective than existing ones.''
He said Cyprus and Greece, through harmonious cooperation, have built relations of trust and confidence with the EU and have managed to overcome many obstacles raised in the past on the way to a united Europe.
He reiterated that the Cyprus question is an international issue and the UN should have a major role in future efforts to find a negotiated settlement in Cyprus, after the collapse of the latest UN attempt to reunite the country.
Simitis referred to a new timeframe in the peace effort, that of 2004, and reiterated to Turkey that the dividing line in Cyprus, maintained through the continuing occupation, does not serve Ankara's interests.
''This line cannot be abolished by words or tactical manoeuvres but with acts, deeds and initiatives, a change of climate and the political will to reunite the island and we shall wait to see this policy'' from the Turkish side, he said.
 Greek Premier meets party leaders
Greek Premier meets party leaders
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis met today political party leaders from both sides of the divide, as part of his contacts in his capacity as current president of the European Council. The meeting took place at the residence of Greece's Ambassador in Nicosia Christos Panagopoulos.
The premier said his visit here takes place in the framework of preparations for the June EU summit, in Salonica, and Cyprus is the first stop of a tour of 24 nations, EU members, after Cyprus and another nine countries signed on Wednesday the Accession Treaty.
This was the first time Simitis had a meeting Turkish Cypriot party leaders. All Greek Cypriot leaders of the eight parliamentary parties attended today's meeting but not all Turkish Cypriot party leaders.
Two Turkish Cypriots, the leader of the National Unity Party Dervis Eroglu and of the Democratic Party Serdar Denktas declined Simitis' invitation to participate in the meeting. Both are members of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Huseyin Agolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, Alpay Durduran, leader of the Movement of Patriotic Unionity, Izzet Izcan, of the United Cyprus party, Mehmet Suleymanoglu of the Socialist Party and so-called mayor of occupied Nicosia and Kutlay Erk, of the Republican Turkish Party.
As Simitis was entering the residence of the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia, Simitis was greeted by relatives of missing persons who told him that they look up to him for assistance in their efforts to establish the fate of their loved ones, missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.
Later today, the premier is meeting with former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and with church leaders.
 Party leaders give Simitis a strong message for a solution
Party leaders give Simitis a strong message for a solution
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot party leaders have expressed to Greek Prime Minister and president of the European Council Costas Simitis their political will to see the Cyprus question settled.
Speaking after a 90-minute long meeting here today with party leaders from both sides of the divide, Simitis said he would convey this message to his EU partners and others to maintain the momentum for a solution.
''There is common will to solve the problem along the lines indicated by the UN peace proposal Secretary General Kofi Annan has submitted to the two sides in Cyprus for a comprehensive settlement,'' Simitis said.
Describing his meeting as ''very interesting'' he noted that this was the first time a Greek premier and an EU president has met with Turkish Cypriot leaders who oppose Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
He said it was clear to him that there is the political will on the part of his interlocutors to proceed with a solution.
''The views of the Turkish Cypriots in opposition and all the Greek Cypriots coincide and it is that they all want a solution, we need this to see Cyprus move ahead united and use all opportunities available, within the EU,'' he said.
He said this message was communicated to him ''loud and clear.''
Simitis told the press that a large part of the Turkish Cypriot community sees that progress towards a solution is not possible unless the division is overcome and unless a new situation is created, and added that the basis of this situation is the Annan plan.
The plan, he reiterated, needs to be completed, it needs corrections, amendments and discussion to make it more workable but it is a basis for negotiations.
The Greek premier acknowledged that views may differ now on one or another point but there is common will to solve the problem on the course indicated by the Annan plan.
 Simitis appreciates working with Clerides
Simitis appreciates working with Clerides
Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister and current president of the European Council Costas Simitis has expressed his appreciation for the six years he and former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides had worked together, as they both served their respective countries at the helm of the nation.
''I remember those years as six years of very good and very friendly cooperation,'' Simitis said after a half-hour long meeting with Clerides at the latter's residence in Nicosia.
Simitis gave Clerides a commemorative gift of a silver copy of an ancient object.
 Greek Premier leaves Cyprus
Greek Premier leaves Cyprus
Larnaca, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister and current EU President Costas Simitis left Cyprus this evening after a 24-hour meeting during which he held talks with the Cypriot leadership.
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos sent him off at Larnaca International Airport.
Premier Simitis inspected a guard of honour while the National Guard band played the national anthem.
His short trip to Cyprus was his first stop of a 24-nation tour that will take him to the other 14 EU member-states and the ten countries that signed on Wednesday in Athens their Acession Treaty to the EU.
During his stay on the island the Greek premier held talks with President Papadopoulos and addressed an extraordinary session of the 56-seat House of Representatives.
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