UN SECRETARY GENERALS' STATEMENT UPON ARRIVAL IN ATHENS, GREECE
25 February 2003
I wish to express my great satisfaction at paying
my first visit to
In my frequent contacts with Foreign Minister
George Papandreou, we discuss a wide range of issues. A great deal of attention
seems to be riveted these days on the
The Treaty of Accession providing for the
enlargement of the European Union by ten members, including
It is therefore easy to understand that decision
time has arrived, and why the parties should adhere to the goal of reaching
agreement on 28 February. Perhaps that goal can slip a few days, but to go much
beyond 28 February would doom the prospect of a re-united
Since 11 November, the parties have had before them a draft for a comprehensive settlement. This draft was revised on 10 December. Following intensive consultations, which have included Mr. Papadopoulos since his election on 16 February, I provided all concerned, this past Sunday, with a preview of the elements of what I hope is the final revision of the draft. I will shortly hand it to them on the island.
The revisions I have in mind will not come as a
surprise to the parties. They are the culmination of the most intensive process
of negotiations that has ever occurred on the
I was encouraged and heartened by my talks in
Q: Secretary-General, yesterday the Greek government and the newly elected President of Cyprus expressed the view that there is no possibility to reach an agreement by the 28th of February or 30th March. What do you think?
SG: Well, I
think you have heard my statement and I would want to sit with both of them to
discuss the issue and the urgency that we all attach to the problem and I think
we will have a chance to exchange ideas and discuss how we will move forward.
But as I have indicated, if we miss this opportunity to get a re-united
Secretary-General, just a clarification. Did I understand you correctly when you
said that you handed to
SG: I have
indicated that I have shared with the parties, including the motherlands,
elements of the changes I intend to propose, so they all have it. The Greek
Cypriots have it, the Turkish Cypriots have it, your government has got it, and
Q: What will
be the message that you will convey to
SG: We'll jump the bridge when we get there. I think that I have indicated that it is in their interest to work with us to find an agreement urgently and I hope we will. Don't give up before the fight is over.
Secretary-General, you said you were encouraged by your talks in
understand and accept the urgency and the need to make progress and they do
accept the fact that they would want to see a united
Thank you very much.
* * * * *