NICOSIA.- (CNA) — Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Saturday the Greek Cypriot side hoped it would find a reliable negotiator during the UN-sponsored talks that will begin in Switzerland next week with the participation of Greece, Turkey and the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides.
Prior to his departure to Burgenstock, Lucerne, President Papadopoulos will meet on Monday Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash within the framework of the UN-led direct talks, his spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has confirmed.
The Cypriot President will also attend the European Council which will take place in Brussels between 25-26 March.
Asked if the so-called prime minister Mehmet Ali Talat was authorised to take part in the negotiations, President Papadopoulos replied “the statement issued by the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem) outlines it clearly. We anticipate to find a reliable negotiator”, he added.
“It is a matter of the Turkish Cypriot side to determine a reliable negotiator”, the Cyprus President added.
Speaking during the official departure ceremony of Hungary’s President Ferenc Madl, at the Presidential Palace, President Papadopoulos said “we are responding fully to the obligations we have undertaken by the UN Secretary-General and we expect the Turkish side to do the same”.
Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Chrysostomides told CNA that President Papadopoulos will meet Denktash on Monday at the venue of the direct talks, in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, prior to his departure to Switzerland.
The meeting will take place at the presence of UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto. The Government Spokesman also said Papadopoulos will attend the European Council in Brussels from 25-26 March.
He said President Papadopoulos will be accompanied by Foreign Minister George Iacovou. At the end of the Council, the Cypriot President will return to Switzerland for the Cyprus talks.
According to Anatolia New Agency, Rauf Denktas said on Saturday that he will authorize Mr Talat “to represent Turkish Cypriot people in the four-party conference to be held in Switzerland and that nobody should have any doubts about it.
“Turkish Cypriots are present in negotiations. Nothing changes as I don’t participate in the quartet conference. I don`t go to Switzerland only to give the necessary message to my people. I want to tell my people that `we are in a dangerous situation. If we can’t get our rights, which we are not granted since today, in these negotiations, our people should be take action carefully.` I need to do so. Otherwise, the other parties will use intrigues like `Denktas was also in Switzerland and Denktas also accepted` in order to make me accept issues which can never be accepted by my people as done in New York. I can`t accept such an imposition,“ Denktas said.
If sides fail to reach a solution till March 22, a quartet conference will take place among Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Turkey and Greece. Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Tayip Erdogan will participate in the latest stage of the conference, on March 28.
U.N. Secretary General Annan will fill in the blanks left in the plan if participants can’t reach any compromise in quartet meetings, and the text to be formed at the end of all these initiatives will be voted in referenda to be held synchronously in the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides on April 20.