United Nations.- By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos plans to ask UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to go on with the implementation of the 8 July 2006 agreement reached between the two sides in Cyprus. President Papadopoulos on Saturday in New York and he was scheduled to meet yesterday at 2:20 pm the UN Chief. During his stay in New York, the Cypriot President will address the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, meet the representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on Thursday and have separate meetings with heads of state and government.
He told reporters on his arrival in New York that this was his first meeting with the UN Secretary General since the latterʼs election and he was going to brief him on developments in the Cyprus problem.
Among those to meet in New York is US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicolas Burns, who had announced his intention to visit Cyprus soon.
Asked to comment on a recent statement by Burns that he was optimistic that substantive progress could be reached by the end of 2007 in efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said “it is our desire to use the period of time until the Presidential elections in Cyprus (February 2008) and I remind you that the latest UN Security Council resolution refers to preparations of negotiations. Every assistance in this direction is welcome.”
President Papadopoulos expressed the hope that international pressures on the Turkish side to accept the continuation of the Gambari process (8 July 2006 agreement) would yield results.
Concerning statements made by Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his recent illegal visit to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, President Papadopoulos noted that it was the first time that a high ranking Turkish official spoke of the creation of two states in Cyprus by two peoples with different religions. It was the first time that religion was presented as an element of the solution of the Cyprus problem, he added.
The Cypriot President said Gulʼs statement was actually a contradiction that the Turkish Cypriots wanted reunification. “I strongly believe that no Cypriot politician and no Cypriot citizen would ever accept a solution of two states, two peoples, two religions in Cyprus”, Papadopoulos pointed out.
Asked to comment on an initiative by Swedenʼs Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to discuss the Cyprus question with colleagues from the United States and European countries, excluding Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, President Papadopoulos described Bildtʼs initiative “a little bit strange”. He added: “I think such meetings with an informal character are not the correct procedure because they divert the process taking place under UN aegis. I donʼt think there will be continuation.”