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15 September, 2000
Greece and Cyprus are in close contact and coordinate their efforts with a view to promote a Cyprus settlement in the frame-work of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in New York on Wednesday.
Speaking after a lengthy meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Papandreou avoided any comment on a statement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, noting that President Clerides would make any announcements.
"Greece stands by the efforts of the Cyprus government and President Clerides to promote a Cyprus settlement," Papandreou said, adding that "there was close cooperation."
He also said Athens stands by Cyprus "at this crucial moment".
"We coordinate our moves closely and we also brief each other on the efforts we make," he added.
Papandreou said that "the goal is to promote a solution of the Cyprus question in the known framework, which for Greece cannot be violated, and that is a bizonal, bicommunal federation".
He said any announcements would be made by President Clerides or his spokesman and not by him.
Invited to comment on Annan's statement, Papandreou said he did not wish to make any comment and repeated earlier remarks that Greece stands by Cyprus.
Annan said in his statement of September 12 that the equal status of the parties must and should be recognized explicitly in the comprehensive settlement to be reached on the Cyprus problem, noting that each side represents itself and no one else.
In the statement, which he read out to President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, during separate meetings he had with them on Tuesday, first day of the fourth round of proximity talks to solve the Cyprus problem, Annan noted that the comprehensive settlement must enshrine a new partnership on which to build a better future in peace, security and prosperity on a united island.
Asked whether Annan's statement is what is expected from the international community as a move to break the deadlock, Papandreou said he would not comment.
"This is not the time to comment on the various moves that were made, tactical moves or not, or any other moves for that matter," he said, adding that "if anything is to be announced about further moves of the Cypriot side, it will make the announcement."
UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings of the UN with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, began last December and a fourth round is underway in New York, aiming at paving the way for substantive negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, divided since Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in 1974.
Source: Athens News Agency