Interview by President Clerides
to the Cypriot Daily Newspaper "Alithia"
July 2, 2000
On Sunday July 2, in Nicosia, President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides affirmed that the Greek Cypriot side will attend the third round of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem with courage and an intention to be flexible, but noted that it awaits a similar stance from the Turkish Cypriot side.The two rounds of proximity talks that were already held in December of 1999 in New York and in February of 2000 in Geneva, aimed at preparing the ground for substantive negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.
Asked about the prospects of the third round of talks, President Clerides replied “our side will attend the talks prepared, with braveness and flexibility, depending also on the stance of the other side.” He also noted, however, that during substantive negotiations, which would last for at least a few weeks, one would be able to see whether there were any prospects for progress on a Cyprus settlement.
The President stated that the Turkish side aims at buying time until Autumn, so as not to make any concessions on the Cyprus problem, but also to avoid any mention of the problem in the text on the partnership relation between the European Union and Turkey, which will be discussed in October. He added that the Turkish side also wants unfruitful time to pass until Autumn, which will be closer to the presidential elections in the United States, so that it would not be fully involved in the peace process.
President Clerides further noted that “no matter which peace process was followed, there would be no result if Ankara did not change its policy or if the international community did not change its stance on Ankara.”
Analysing his term in office, the President said that he had tried to create “a more intense interest on a Cyprus settlement, mainly from the US and the EU, and if Turkey did not respond positively, then her policy would be revealed and internationally exposed.”
Referring to Cyprus’ European Union accession course, President Clerides said that “the so far successful course of Cyprus to the EU justifies our optimism for membership,” adding that the island’s application “was submitted by the Republic of Cyprus and therefore if accession is achieved before a settlement, then it would be the whole of the Republic of Cyprus that would accede to the EU.”
President Clerides also noted that Cyprus’ accession course “may serve as a catalyst in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, especially taking into consideration the fact that Turkey has started its own accession course.”
* * * * *