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Cyprus Government Spokesman Daily Briefing, 04-01-05

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From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>

Daily briefing of the Press by the Government Spokesman

5 January 2004

At the end of today's meeting of the National Council, which was presided over by the President of the Republic Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, the Government Spokesman Mr Kypros Chrysostomides stated that President Papadopoulos had briefed in detail the members of the National Council on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and also on the results of the Intergovernmental Conference. Mr Chrysostomides said that in the discussion that followed there was an in depth analysis of the current situation of the Cyprus problem. He also stated that the National Council reiterated its position that our side was ready for the resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan for the attainment of a functional and viable solution before 1 May 2004 so that a reunited Cyprus could accede to the EU.

Mr Chrysostomides stated that President Papadopoulos informed the members of the National Council that he had received a letter from the US President Mr George Bush to which he would reply. Mr Chrysostomides also said that at the meeting there was a reference to Mr Annan's letter to President Papadopoulos on the issue of the missing persons, as well as to President Papadopoulos' reply to it.

Then, Mr Chrysostomides was asked to comment on the content of the US President's letter to President Papadopoulos. The Government Spokesman did not give any details and said that the content would be made known in due course after President Papadopoulos' reply.

The Government Spokesman added there was no information as to whether a letter of a similar content had also been sent to the Turkish Cypriot leader. Invited to comment as to whether the letter sent to the Greek PM was of a different content, Mr Chrysostomides said that he did not believe so. Invited to comment on whether the US President requested that both sides proceed to negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan, Mr Chrysostomides said he did not wish to make any further comments on the issue.

Asked to comment on the issue of the Secretary-General's role as an arbitrator, Mr Chrysostomides said that the Greek Cypriot side was ready for the resumption of substantive talks and negotiations for a functional and viable solution before 1 May 2004 so that a reunited Cyprus could accede to the EU.

On the issue of referenda, Mr Chrysostomides said that the position of the Government had not changed. Asked whether the intention of the Americans was that negotiations should resume in the next few days, Mr Chrysostomides replied that in general that was also the position of the Government of Cyprus.

Asked whether there was a timeframe for substantial negotiation and when it would end, given the data in the Annan Plan, the Spokesman said that there was no such timeframe adding that the Government believed there was enough time for negotiation which would also depend on the position of the other side.

Asked to comment on the Turkish FM's statement that Mr Denktash should remain as an interlocutor, Mr Chrysostomides stated that it had been noted and also recalled Mr Denkatsh's negative position which remained unchanged. Asked if there was any information on Mr de Soto resuming his task or whether there would be a visit by Mr Annan's advisers to Cyprus, Mr Chrysostomides said there was no such information. Asked if there was any information on the positions or moves of the Turkish side, Mr Chrysostomides replied that apart from some articles and leaks to the press, there was nothing specific.

Asked whether there was a discussion on the plan that was publicised in daily Turkish Cypriot newspaper Cumhuriyet, Mr Chrysostomides said there was not any substantial discussion on that since there was not anything specific on the table. Asked whether the National Council members were unanimous on the future handling of the Cyprus problem, Mr Chrysostomides said that he believed so adding that in case there was a resumption of the talks, the National Council would convene again.


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