Statement by the Cyprus President after his Meeting with the Secretary General in Brussels

29 January, 2004 


"We had a very good meeting with the Secretary General and I want to tell you that we appealed to the Secretary General that he may immediately call the talks. And I repeated that we are ready to take part in these talks for reaching a comprehensive, self-executive agreement the soonest possible. We also think, this is our view, that it's about time we start substantive talks, leave aside the efforts to have public relations benefits. We lost quite a considerable time, time to wait for developments in the Turkish Cypriot side. And time is really short, so we must aim our talks which are result-oriented and not repeat the previous exercises, where no progress was made and no serious negotiating process was taken place. I repeat once more, our readiness to engage in such time the talks and our willingness to show all necessary good will and, if possible, to be able to reach an agreement before May 1st, I repeat once more, that our main aim is to see a reunited Cyprus joining the EU by May 1st ".

Question: Mr. President. What is your reaction that Mr. Powell is going to be involved in the process. Your reaction to that?

President Papadopoulos: I think we better leave this to be decided by the Secretary General. He gave us his initial reaction to that and I think it's really a side issue. The main issue is not to waste any more time. To start immediately the talks, hopefully to complete them in time, so the reunited Cyprus joins the EU.

Question: Did the Secretary General tell you when these talks are going to begin and where?

President Papadopoulos: No. The Secretary General didn't touch upon the subject. He repeated his conditions, we gave him our ideas as to how he can overcome, whatever reservations there might be, which he will consider.

Question: Do you accept all the conditions that were set by ....

President Papadopoulos: We never refused to have a referendum. When talks commence and we see that they progress well and both sides show of a spirit necessary and as I said, we gave some ideas to the Secretary General as to how he might consider that we meet his conditions.

Question: Did he give you the impression that the talks might be eminent?

President Papadopoulos: Well, I cannot talk about impressions. That is something that the Secretary General decides.

Question: Was there also the idea apparently to start a kind of beginning of negotiations in Geneva on February 9th at the level of political Directors ?

President Papadopoulos: I assure you it did not go into such details. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you that the Secretary General is going either to call immediately the talks or whether he will be satisfied with the ideas we gave him.

* * * * *