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Cyprus Government Spokesman Daily Briefing, 04-01-13

Cyprus Government Spokesman Daily Briefing Directory - Previous Article

From: "HR-Net News Distribution Manager" <dist@hri.org>

Daily briefing of the Press by the Government Spokesman

13 January 2004

At the beginning of today's meeting of the Press, the Government Spokesman Mr Kypros Chrysostomides stated that the PM of Luxemburg Mr Jean Claude Junker would be in Cyprus for an official visit on 25-27 January and that President Papadopoulos would then depart for Strasbourg in order to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 28 January.

Mr Chrysostomides noted that the rate of unemployment in Cyprus was 4.1% of the economically active population, which as he said, was not worrying. The Spokesman said that Cyprus ranked third in the EU, with the lowest unemployment rate after Holland and Luxembourg. Mr Chrysostomides stated also that according to the Economic Freedom Report 2004 Cyprus ranked 14th worldwide in the degree of economic freedom, something that was particularly important in the EU context.

Mr Chrysostomides said that the UN Secretary-General's letter had been received by the President and also that President Papadopoulos' letter to the US President had also been sent.

Asked on the content of Mr Annan's letter, Mr Chrysostomides said that the UN Secretary-General's Spokesman had already made some statements and that Mr Annan was making specific reference to paragraph 148 of his Report on 1 April 2003, in which he was asking all sides concerned to commit themselves to negotiation and completion of the plan and putting it to separate referenda on specific dates.

Asked whether there was a reference in the letter for the resumption of the talks before 1 May 2004, Mr Chrysostomides said that the letter did not specify the time frame, even though, he said, specific dates as well as a time frame should be set accordingly in view of the wish for a solution before 1 May. Asked whether the Government would reply to Mr Annan's letter, the Spokesman said that his letter was under examination and, depending on developments and the position of the Turkish side, there would be further action which would be decided by President Papadopoulos and the National Council if necessary.

Mr Chrysostomides then made reference to the position of the Turkish side saying that there had not been a change in Ankara's or Mr Denktash's position. He said that their positions were identical, even though, as he said, Mr Denktash's statement that they would negotiate the Annan Plan could indicate a change in his policy line. Mr Chrysostomides stated also that the problem was about what they would do upon the resumption of negotiations.

Asked whether our side was ready to engage in negotiations given the Turkish positions as they were expressed, Mr Chrysostomides said that our side was ready for the resumption of negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan and that if there was a response by the other side based on these elements, and subsequently by the UN Secretary-General, our side would then be ready for negotiations.

Invited to comment on whether our side was rejecting the possibility of a timeframe in relation to the referenda and whether that led to the conclusion that our side was not ready to engage in discussions given Mr Annan's reasoning, Mr Chrysostomides said that what was needed was for the other side to be clear in its position, adding that we should wait and see Turkey's official position to be taken at a National Security Council meeting on 23 January.

Invited to comment on whether Mr Annan was asking for the position of the two sides so that he would fix the date of the referenda, Mr Chrysostomides said that Mr Annan was reiterating his position which was expressed in his Report on 1 April 2003. Invited to comment on the possibility that discussions would not take place in view of the fact that our side and the Turkish Cypriot side did not agree on the issue of setting a date for the referenda, Mr Chrysostomides said that he did not think that the UN Secretary-General would call for negotiations in view of the lack of any position on the part of the Turkish side.

Asked on what was published in daily newspaper "Politis" namely that there were new Turkish manoeuvres for conjuncting the Annan Plan and the Set of Ideas, Mr Chrysostomides said he knew nothing more, apart from what was in the press.

Asked whether he shared Mr Accinzi's view that Turkey's landmark was December and not May 2004, the Spokesman said, that view was a view expressed by a serious Turkish Cypriot politician. Mr Chrysostomides said that both dates had been discussed repeatedly as to whether they would constitute dates favourable to Turkey for the promotion of the efforts for a solution connecting it with its own EU course. Invited to comment whether those were also the evaluations of the Government, Mr Chrysostomides said that he had not stated anything different and added that it seemed that Turkey preferred December of 2004, even though he underlined, Turkey's real intentions would be made evident in the coming days or weeks.

Asked whether developments in Greece were rendering Mr Annan more reluctant to call for discussions on the Cyprus problem, Mr Chrysostomides said that Mr Annan did not refer to the elections in Greece in his letter and there wasn't anything which could justify that connection.


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