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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 03-04-19

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou optimistic over meeting with Turkish Cypriots

  • [01] Papandreou optimistic over meeting with Turkish Cypriots


    Papandreou optimistic over meeting with Turkish Cypriots

    Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, has called on Turkish Cypriots to dream together, but be realistic and look at the actual problems in efforts to reunify Cyprus.

    Speaking after a meeting here this afternoon of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot party leaders with Greek Prime Minister and president of the European Council Costas Simitis, Papandreou said that it was symbolic and all agreed that a solution must be found, using the UN Secretary-Generals plan as a basis, noting this conveyed a message of optimism and hope.

    Asked what will happen to Turkish Cypriots now that Cyprus has entered the EU, Papandreou said both he and Simitis had told the Turkish Cypriots that the entry of Cyprus into the EU is not something which will allow us to forget.

    On the contrary, symbolically, the fact that we have met with the Turkish Cypriots for the first time, even after 16 April (the day Cyprus signed the Accession Treaty to the EU), shows us that it is of grave concern for us to make sure that Cyprus is reunited and that the Turkish Cypriots can be part of the EU as full citizens, with all their rights and all the benefits that this will bring, Papandreou said.

    Secondly, we believe that we need to work closely with Turkey and its government in helping Turkey and its European path, the Greek minister said, noting Turkeys European path is very important for us, is important for the Turkish people, is important for the stability of the region, important for Greek and Turkish relations, even for Europe.

    He explained that Turkey can become a model, a secular country yes, but of a Moslem population which is also European. This is of great importance, not just for Europe but also for the much wider world in the Moslem and Arab world. So I would say for us it is of strategic importance that we continue this.

    So I am very happy to see that all in this meeting said we must find a solution, use the Kofi Annan plan, use the UN and that for us has been a message of optimism and hope, he added.

    Asked whether with todays meeting, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was bypassed, Papandreou said our effort is not to bypass because the UN works with the leaders of both communities, so we very much understand that it is absolutely necessary to work with the leaders of both communities.

    However, this was a first meeting, a symbolic one and I think one with hope.

    He expressed the conviction that the messages that come out of this meeting are positive for both sides.

    Asked if it was true that a new plan is drafted by the US, Papandreou said he was sure that the UN will continue to be in the drivers seat on this issue, and I am sure that the US is working closely with all parties, as it has been in the previous past and with the Annan plan in order to help. So I think we should not raise fears, at least at this point.

    However, Papandreou said he could not exclude any possible initiative, but I think that initiatives will need to be based on very strong political will, and what is becoming even more apparent is that it is in our interest to move ahead and find a solution.

    To a remark that he is optimistic, Papandreou replied, I have to be optimistic, and also realistic. The policies that we have followed have had results. They began as a dream, as a vision, and we are building this step by step. Let us be able to dream together, but be realistic, of course, we need to look at the actual problems, too.

    On his part, Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat told reporters that the Turkish Cypriots want to be equal partners for a solution.

    He said the Turkish Cypriots do not reject measures such as freedom of trade, getting passports, citizenship rights but are only very concerned on the issues which create a kind of conception that Turkish Cypriots are a minority. We are against those measures, the ones that were leaked to the press, although they were not officially declared.

    Asked if he will have any contacts with the Cypriot government on the measures, Talat said it depends on them, they never invited us for such a discussion, they didnt bring anything to the party leaders meetings, so if they want to consult Turkish Cypriots, we will be ready to help.

    To a remark that the Greek Cypriots want amendments as far as human rights are concerned, such as return of their property, teh Turkish Cypriot politician replied that is a matter of a solution. In a solution, we will discuss those.

    Meanwhile, CNA has learnt that the Turkish Cypriot parties have asked to continue consultations with the Greek government in Athens, something which was viewed positively by Simitis.

    Almost all Turkish Cypriots asked for more help from Athens, expressing their content over the fact that the Greek government is not resting on its laurels after Cyprus accession to the EU, and that it wants a solution.

    They also asked for intensive efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, and some talked about a solution based on the Annan plan and others for negotiations based on the UN peace plan.

    The Turkish Cypriot politicians said they were happy over the Greek initiatives, noting that the cooperation between Greece and Turkey has greatly helped and that this should continue.

    The Turkish Cypriot politicians were especially critical over Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, noting they rest their hope on Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    They further raised some questions over the measures which the Cypriot government intends to announce to help Turkish Cypriots, noting however that they consider them a step towards improving the situation.

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