President Clerides replies to press questions on
his return from New York


29 September 2000


Following his statement on arrival at Larnaca airport yesterday, the President of the Republic Mr. Glafcos Clerides, replied to press questions as follows:

Question: What is your overall assessment following the completion of the present round of tables. Has there been a deviation from the right course of the Cyprus problem?

Answer: I do not believe one should speak about a deviation. We have received crystal clear assurances that are not subject to any other interpretation than that the settlement should comply with the Security Council resolutions. What one might regard as a deviation is the fact that the resolutions provide that all issues are on the negotiating table, which gives Mr. Denktash the opportunity to speak of confederation and sovereignty.

The issue of sovereignty was discussed many years ago and when the Ghali set of ideas was discussed, one of the issues of disagreement between the then government and Mr. Denktash was the issue of sovereignty. Mr. Denktash insisted on separate sovereignty which is the most basic characteristic of a confederation.

Another point of disagreement was the equal representation of the two sides which was not accepted by the previous government either, but was a matter under discussion and was part of the Ghali set of ideas. The Ghali set of ideas refers to that issue. It is an issue that was discussed and will be discussed until a settlement is reached.

There was also the issue of a rotating presidency which is also a characteristic of confederation. Consequently nothing new was put on the table. The basic demands of Mr. Denktash for recognition, equal representation and a rotating presidency are there. But it has never been suggested that such positions should be accepted.

Question: Which are the controversial points Mr. de Soto refers to?

Answer: For the time being Mr. de Soto is doing something he considers very useful. Before formulating views he is floating some ideas, which are not proposals and are not for acceptance or rejection but aimed at establishing how the parties feel about them.

In other words, it is an effort to establish what room there is for common ground between the two sides and this is very useful because it gives us the opportunity, instead of being presented with something in writing which we might have to correct, to warn them beforehand that this question is not even negotiable.

Question: Certain ideas were given which are not compatible with the UN resolutions and International Law and were rejected by the Greek Cypriot side. Given the reaction of the UN, are you certain that we shall not see these ideas in writing in the form of some document or proposals in the next round of talks?

Answer: If it does not want a solution to be found, yes. If it wants a solution, it would be foolish to repeat them so that we should disagree. We were told by the representatives of the UN that they have taken note of what we said and that they will amend certain ideas they had. But it would be entirely unjustified if after four rounds of explaining again and again why we do not accept something - and we met much understanding on several issues - Mr. de Soto repeated them. He will not do it unless he wants to frustrate a possible solution.

Question: As you have mentioned we were given assurances in private and orally by the UN Secretary-General that the solution must take fully into consideration the Security Council resolutions. One might doubt whether it is possible to ensure this, given that the person who best represents the UN is the Secretary-General himself, who has issued his well-known statement officially and in writing.

Answer: The Secretary-General himself supports with quite serious arguments that there is nothing in what he has said which implies deviation from the resolutions. He stressed through Mr. de Soto that his statements can not and must not be construed as the beginning of the recognition of the pseudostate or the granting of equal status or even a change of course towards confederation.

Question: What about the point raised about a new partnership?

Answer: The point referring to a new partnership is based on the following: If there is to be a solution to the Cyprus problem there must be consent on both sides - the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides. This is just a nice expression. Once they agree, they will create a regime which we can describe as a partnership. It is not an interpretation of where sovereignty begins and ends. The issue of sovereignty has so far not been put before us and no suggestion has been made.

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