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Posted by D from ( on Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 7:57PM :

The Cyprus and Greek governments remain committed to UN procedures for reaching a 'European solution' of the Cyprus problem, the Greek Prime Minister and current European Council President, Mr Costas Simitis, stressed yesterday after a meeting with the Cyprus President, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, in Athens.

The Greek Premier said that his three-hour meeting with President Papadopoulos focused on two main issues, namely, European issues and in particular the agenda of the Thessaloniki EU Summit in June, and the ongoing efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue along with the coordination of Athens and Nicosia on a foreign policy level.

"It is a joint assessment that the moves of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side for the partial lifting of restrictions on movement between the occupied and the free areas of Cyprus are not aimed at a solution of the Cyprus issue but seek to create impressions and disorient the international public opinion, alleviate pressures by the international community for a solution of the problem, and ultimately, achieve the recognition of the pseudo-state", Mr Simitis noted, adding that these moves were also a way of taking the Cyprus issue out of the UN framework and gradually 'de-internationalising' it.

He further said that Cyprus' accession to the EU could act as a catalyst for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, adding, "We seek the resumption of the talks within the UN framework on the basis of the Annan plan and Security Council Resolution 1475. We want a just, viable and functional solution that is compatible with the acquis communautaire and EU principles".

At the same time, Mr Simitis warned the Greek Cypriot side against undertaking any initiative for the resumption of the UN-led talks, noting, "If we resume talks without changing the basic feature of the current situation, Mr Denktash's efforts to have the pseudo-state recognised, then we would be led to the undermining of the UN process".

Referring to the Cyprus government's support measures for Turkish Cypriots and the EU measures that the European Commission planned to announce soon, Mr Simitis said that they aimed to bring Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots closer together and also bring Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU.

The Greek Premier and EU President stressed, in concluding, that bilateral ties were "excellent" and that there was a "very close and productive cooperation and identity on views" between Athens and Nicosia as regards their common goal, namely the solution of the political problem on the island.

On his turn, the Cyprus President, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, expressed his full agreement with what Mr Simitis had said.

Replying to a question, President Papadopoulos pointed out that Mr Denktash's argument on the inability of the two communities to co-exist peacefully had been proven wrong by the latest developments on the island. Furthermore, the President pledged to work towards a solution that would respect human rights and basic freedoms.

-- D
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