LARNACA.- (CNA)– Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said his sole aim is to improve the Annan Plan and to achieve a solution which will serve the interests of the whole people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. He declared on his return from New York that he will not allow the procedure of the negotiations to end up in wrong decisions or sacrifice the substance for the sake of the procedure, stressing his sole concern is the interest of the people of Cyprus “which we will not sacrifice for any expediencies or under any pressure”.
Papadopoulos told the press on his return at Larnaca airport in New York, the Greek Cypriot side was asked to “prove that what we had said all along that we wholeheartedly wished for a resumption of the talks based on the Annan Plan, was genuine and sincere”.
He said a new round of intensive negotiations will start next week in “very tight timeframes which will show whether it will lead to the desired solution or not”.
Papadopoulos said this will depend on the positions which the two sides will present, and more importantly on whether the Turkish side has changed its policy as regards to Cyprus, if it is pursuing a solution so that a reunited Cyprus will enter the EU or whether it insists in its old position for division of the island.
“This was not made completely clear from the New York discussions”, the Cypriot President noted.
Papadopoulos clarified to the people of Cyprus that “nothing has finished. The road is long, and hard. From our side, we will work day and night very intensively in the next days and weeks to achieve the improvements we seek on the Annan Plan so that this round of negotiations will reach a conclusion on which the people of Cyprus will finally make a decision”.
He said our strength, is the unity which was exhibited by the political leadership and the leaders who accompanied him in New York and those who were left behind in Cyprus.
“Our weapon in the negotiations is our faith in the justice of our rights, our argument over the precision of the changes which we pursue in the Annan Plan and unity,” Papadopoulos said.
He added that when foreigners see the unity, which was exhibited in New York, “they realise that the people are united and determined to seek the best possible solution under the circumstances”.
A solution, Papadopoulos added, “which might not be as fair as it should be or certainly as we wanted, but a solution which is functional and viable within the framework of the Annan Plan”.
Papadopoulos explained that there will be subcommittees in the procedure to cover the mass work that needs to be done as far as legislation is concerned as well as intensive political negotiations between the two parties under the auspices of the UN SG or his representative Alvaro de Soto, to ascertain whether the differences can be bridged.
“I believe that with the efforts we have undertaken and the understanding from the part of the foreign factors and the Secretary-General, we have managed to restrict the arbitrary role which the SG had claimed, so that issues which are outside the framework of the Annan Plan will not be discussed”.
He said he is certain that some of Denktash’s demands are completely outside the plan “and we have no intention to accept them”.
Referring to the role of the European Union, Papadopoulos said that it has been significantly upgraded and that he has assurances by Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen and the Secretary-General that the role of the EU will be diverse at all levels and stages of the negotiations.
Papadopoulos announced that Verheugen will visit Cyprus a day before the resumption of the negotiations “to give the message of the great interest and involvement of the EU”.