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Cyprus Government Spokesman Daily Briefing, 04-01-09

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Daily briefing of the Press by the Government Spokesman

9 January 2004

At today's briefing of the Press the Government Spokesman Mr Kypros Chrysostomides stated inter alia that President Papadopoulos had met the day before with the President of Estonia Mr Arnold Ruutel who was on an official visit to Cyprus, and that present at the meeting were delegations from both sides. Mr Chrysostomides said that three agreements had been signed, namely an Agreement on Cooperation between the two countries to combat organized crime and other forms of crime, an Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Education and Culture and the Protocol on Consultation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.

Mr Chrysostomides noted it was evident beyond any doubt that all decisions were taken in Ankara, a position that had always been expressed by the Government of Cyprus, and which was now openly admitted by Turkish politicians. Mr Chrysostomides posed the question as to why the Government of Cyprus was accused of undermining the Turkish Cypriot opposition by taking the above position when it was openly admitted by all Turkish politicians that decisions were taken in Ankara. At the same time, the Spokesman said there wasn't anything specific in the announcement that was published after the meeting at the Cankaya Presidential Mansion, even though, he said, it made reference to the so-called realities on the island which should form the basis of negotiations, something that was pointing to Mr Denktash's positions and the demand for accepting the faits accomplis of the Turkish invasion and occupation.

Mr Chrysostomides also said that the final decision would be taken on 23 January at the meeting of the National Security Council and that the main question was not whether the resumption of negotiations would be decided or not and he pointed out that what was needed was a change in the positions of the Turkish side.

The Government Spokesman said that the statements made by the US Ambassador Mr Klosson in Washington had been noted and that any interest expressed by any side, and in particular by the US, was welcome in promoting the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Invited to comment on the statements made by the US Secretary of State Mr Powel in reply to a question on Mr Erdogan's visit to Washington and whether our side expected a US intervention once Mr Erdogan was in Washington, Mr Chrysostomides said that our side expected an intervention so that there would be a change in Turkey's position and that it was hoped that a US intervention would be effective. Asked whether the Government expected a US intervention, Mr Chrysostomides said that there was a continuous US interest in the promotion of the efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Asked why the dispatch of the letter by the US President to President Papadopoulos was kept secret for a few days after it had been received, the Spokesman said that this was not the case and added that it was decided there would not be a reference to it before the Greek PM had sent his reply to Mr Bush and before it had been announced to the National Council.

Asked whether Mr Bush's letter included any form of exhortation or whether there was a reference to the necessity of the UN Secretary-General assuming the role of arbitrator, Mr Chrysostomides said that as far as he knew no reference of that sort was made in the letter.

Mr Chrysostomides then said that he would let President Papadopoulos know of the desire of the journalists to see Mr Bush's letter publicized.

Asked whether the US President was exerting pressure upon President Papadopoulos in his letter, the Government Spokesman said that Mr Bush was exercising just a form of exhortation and not pressure in the sense that he was imperatively demanding something.

Asked to interpret the fact that the US President was exercising this form of exhortation at a time when President Papadopoulos and the National Councilīs position was on record that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to participate in negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan without terms or preconditions, Mr Chrysostomides replied that that was the Greek PMīs reply to the US President and that he believed it would also be President Papadopoulosīs reply to the US President and he added that the Americans continued to show their interest in promoting the efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Asked whether Mr Erdogan had also received a letter, Mr Chrysostomides said that the Government did not know whether a letter had also been sent to Mr Erdogan, although this was the information coming from the US side. However, Mr Chrysostomides said that Mr Erdogan had denied receiving a letter.

Asked on the Ģ3.6 million that the Ministerial Council had approved for the Turkish Cypriots and whether this decision included those living in the occupied or those in the free areas of the Republic, Mr Chrysostomides said that it included both categories, namely all the Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

Asked whether the UN Secretary-General would be justified to call for the resumption of negotiations, the Spokesman replied that in the press release circulated after the meetings in the Turkish Presidential Mansion there was not a specific position on the part of Turkey towards the UN Secretary-General for the promotion of the efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem apart from a repetition of verbal diplomatic manoeuvres to lessen negative impressions due to Turkey's negative stance on the Cyprus problem so far. Mr Chrysostomides said that Turkey was trying to overcome the difficulty it had put itself into by its negative position and concluded that it remained to be seen on 23 January whether there would be a change in the Turkish policy.

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