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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 03-12-03
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Talat stresses need to have Turkey's cooperation for talks
Talat stresses need to have Turkey's cooperation for talks
by Themis Themistocleous, Maria Myles
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) -- Turkish Cypriot opposition party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, one of the main contenders of ''parliamentary elections'' in Turkish occupied Cyprus scheduled for December 14, believes that unless Turkey gives its seal of approval for the resumption of negotiations, the peace process will stagnate.
Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), says he accepts a UN proposal on a comprehensive settlement as a basis for a solution and is ready to negotiate without preconditions with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, should he win the ''elections''.
In an interview with CNA, he said that if it is not possible to make changes to the Kofi Annan peace plan, then he would put it to a referendum among the Turkish Cypriots and if it is accepted, he would accept it too.
Talat referred to ''a new reality which the Greek Cypriots should bear in mind'', that Turkish Cypriots do not support secession, but they want a solution and back accession to the European Union.
He appeared certain that his party would garner the biggest share of the vote, securing some 32 per cent and be in a position to form a coalition with two other opposition parties he has signed a cooperation protocol with.
Talat dismissed as ''a baseless argument and nonsense'' suggestions that he would cooperate with parties that support the status quo and reject the UN proposal for a Cyprus settlement.
''Our target is to resolve the Cyprus problem, so we cannot cooperate with parties that want to preserve the problem,'' he said.
Replying to questions, he said if the Turkish Cypriots vote for a solution, the coalition will seek to resume the talks, while ''other parties will try to assuage the tension and create a climate of amicable relationships, which is something else''.
He acknowledged that he would first need Turkey's cooperation and said ''we have to cooperate with Turkey, and of course the Greek Cypriot side with Greece, and call for the Secretary General's assistance. We have to get the support of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Greece, Turkey and the UK.''
Asked what would happen if Turkish cooperation is not forthcoming, he said ''this means that the process will stagnate. The Secretary General said that without the support of the mainlands he will not come to assist, so we have to cooperate with Turkey and I have the knowledge that Turkey will be ready to cooperate because they need this. The Turkish Foreign Minister has said that after elections in the north we will start to find ways to resume negotiations.''
Talat said he would be ready to countersign Cyprus President Papadopoulos' move to ask the UN Secretary General to resume his effort for a solution on the basis of his plan immediately after the December 14 vote, regardless of its outcome.
Asked if he accepts the plan as it stands, he replied ''that is a matter of discussion. If we come to a point that we see that it is not possible to change it, we will ask our people because that is the provision of the plan. If our people say it is OK we will accept it.''
He explained that on the basis of the plan, decisions taken by the Turkish Cypriot regime, either legislative or executive, will continue in the new state of affairs after a Cyprus solution, provided they are not repugnant to international law.
''We are committed to this idea. We are not trying to create any difficulty for Greek Cypriots because we want to compromise,'' he added.
Invited to identify the difference between his party and the parties supporting Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, he said ''my vision is the necessity for a solution. Denktash's vision is to preserve the status quo. This is the main difference.''
Talat also said that ''I know that the realities, as Denktash says, are not possible. But there is another reality which Greek Cypriots should keep in mind. This is a new one, that Turkish Cypriots are not for secession, they want a solution and to be a member of the EU and to get rid of isolation.''
Replying to other questions, he said it would be excessive to argue that the party that has the blessing of Ankara will win on December 14, but acknowledged that whoever is in power should cooperate with Turkey on many different levels because ''without Turkey we cannot survive.''
''This is the reality. Half the budget of the Turkish Cypriot state is covered by Turkey, so cooperation is compulsory. This does not mean that Turkey sides with one of the parties. The government of Turkey may wish something but that might not come about,'' he pointed out.
Talat said it is possible to reach a settlement by May 1 next year, when Cyprus joins the European Union, noting that December 2004 would be too late for the Turkish Cypriots who ''need a signal to keep up their hopes''.
On the question of Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus, the RTP leader said many of them support his party because he has told them the truth about their future and explained that according to the provisions of the Annan plan, some will stay on the island and the others will go back home.
''We said that without a solution and maybe an incremental progress towards a solution after Turkey's accession or up during Turkey's European progress, you (settlers) will be expelled from the country, and this time not very dependent on your own choices or not, but with a solution you will have some choices,'' he explained.
He also said the settlers are ''internationally unlawful here'' and added that 7.000 voters have recently been added to the electoral list, some 3.000 of whom acquired the right to vote ''by misuse of a law granting citizenship to persons who can be beneficial to the state''.
On the role of the EU, he said that ''the UN should be involved all the way, the EU cannot fit in negotiations, the EU became a part of the problem when accession talks with the Greek Cypriots on behalf of all Cypriots began.''
EU issues, he explained, are a quite considerable part of the Annan plan. ''The EU cannot play a role in the solution in this regard but they can facilitate the solution by safeguarding some issues of concern for the Turkish Cypriots''.
For example, he said, giving Turkey a strong signal from the European Council that convenes later this month in Brussels that Turkey is really invited to join the EU and not with skepticism, would be a real incentive for Turkey to move towards a Cyprus settlement.
Asked if he would be in a position to remove Denktash from the post of negotiator at the peace talks, he said it would not be possible to find a settlement as long as Denktash represents the Turkish Cypriots at the negotiating table.
 Weston describes payment of compensation to Loizidou as positive
Weston describes payment of compensation to Loizidou as positive
by Demetris Apokis
Washington, Dec 3 (CNA) -- US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston in a statement to CNA described as positive the fact that Turkey paid yesterday to Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou the compensation, which the European Court of Human Rights had ordered Ankara to pay to Loizidou for the loss of the use of her property in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.
 Cypriot and Greek police bust counterfeit ring
Cypriot and Greek police bust counterfeit ring
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) -- The US government has congratulated the Cyprus Police for its international success to put together with their Greek counterparts an alleged ring of counterfeiters out of business.
 Europarliament SG: Turkish to become EU language once Cyprus problem is solved
Europarliament SG: Turkish to become EU language once Cyprus problem is solved
by Maria Antouna
Brussels, Dec 3 (CNA) -- European Parliament Secretary General Julian Priestley has said the inclusion of the Turkish language in the EU official languages will have to be considered once the Cyprus problem is settled.
 Pat Cox's spokesman expresses hope Cyprus solution before May
Pat Cox's spokesman expresses hope Cyprus solution before May
by Maria Antouna
Brussels, Dec 3 (CNA) -- David Harley, Spokesman for the European Parliament President Pat Cox, has expressed hope that even on the eleventh a Cyprus comprehensive settlement will be reached prior to Cyprus' accession to the EU on 1 May 2004.
 Loizidou case must be implemented in full, say lawyer and Loizidou
Loizidou case must be implemented in full, say Lawyer and Loizidou
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) -- There must be moves to persuade Turkey to implement in full a European Court of Human Rights judgment relating to the case Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou won against Ankara for violation of human rights, Loizidou and her lawyer Achilleas Demetriades have said.
 Cyprus Stock Exchange
 Weather and Temperatures for Cyprus
 Commissioner Verheugen defends Annan Plan
Commissioner Verheugen defends Annan Plan
Brussels, Dec 3 (CNA) - Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, in an intervention before the Belgian Senate, defended the Annan Plan for a Cyprus settlement, describing it as the best foundation for negotiations.
He added that the UN Secretary General had said he would become involved again in the negotiations provided political will is ascertained from both sides.
 National Guard to destroy 4.000 mines by end of 2003
National Guard to destroy 4.000 mines by end of 2003
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) - By the end of the year, the National Guard hopes to have destroyed about four thousand antipersonnel mines, as by July 2007 a total of 48 thousand mines kept in storage must be made ineffective, according to the provisions of the Ottawa Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention, which came into effect in Cyprus on July 1st, 2003.
Furthermore, by July 1st, 2013, Cyprus will have to have destroyed all 4.653 antipersonnel mines in the minefields under its control, according to Lieutenant Colonel and Director of the Action Centre against Mines Theodoros Efthymiou and Lieutenant Colonel Prokopis Nanos of the National Guard Chief of Staff, who were speaking at a seminar organised on the Ottawa Convention at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 Cypriot Interpol representative takes on duties
Cypriot Interpol representative takes on duties
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) - Third Sergeant Mary Oratiou today takes on her duties as Permanent Representative of the Cyprus Police at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of Interpol in Lyon, France, according to a Police statement.
 Bulgarian Interior Minister: Annan plan a first step for a settlement
Bulgarian Interior Minister: Annan plan a first step for a settlement
Nicosia, Dec 3 (CNA) -- Bulgaria's Interior Minister Georgi Pektanov assured here today Cyprus Acting President and President of the House of Representatives, Demetris Christofias that his country's position regarding the Cyprus problem remains unchanged since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island and occupied 37% of its northern part.
Pektanov said Bulgaria has proved that it supports a united Cyprus, member of the EU, whose positions for a just solution of its problem it supports and for that reason it considers the Annan plan as a first step towards a comprehensive settlement.
 Greece and Cyprus want full implementation of ECHR ruling
Greece and Cyprus want full implementation of ECHR ruling
Athens, Dec 3 (CNA) - Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today that Greece and Cyprus disagreed with yesterday's resolution of the Council of Europe in the Titina Loizidou case and requested the full implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
Simitis noted, however, that the final resolution contains some positive elements, as it proves that the secessionist regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus is under Turkey and that Turkey is internationally responsible for those areas.
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