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10 February, 2000
The Cyprus problem can only be solved if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash alters his positions, said Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides here on Wednesday.
In statements on his return from Geneva where the second round of the UN-led proximity talks took place, the president said they analyzed and concluded discussions on the four fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem which were raised during the first round last December, namely the distribution of powers, security, property and territory.
The president further said that the third round of the talks, to start on May 23 in New York, would be a reinforced one.
Asked what he had agreed with UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto, regarding the next round of the proximity talks, Clerides replied that the UN official said "it will be a reinforced round of proximity talks."
Invited to explain what the term "reinforced" involves, Clerides said it could mean that some issues might be raised to both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side to ascertain their views.
He also said there is another way, for example, negotiations can continue for some time in the proximity format and then will enter a face-to-face procedure.
"But the final decision will be taken by the Secretary-General before the Cypriot delegation goes to New York", the president added.
Clerides clarified that the second round was not expected to be a decisive round and when asked if the third round will be decisive, Clerides replied, "we will see".
During this round both sides analyzed the positions raised during the first round, the president said. "The only thing is that we don't know the positions of the other side", the president added.
Clerides confirmed reports that there has been talk about a fourth round of negotiations.
Asked to comment on Denktash's insistence to hold separate contacts with the European Union, the president stressed that Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides sent letters to all EU governments where he drew their attention to the EU charter that they cannot negotiate with a "state" which is not recognized.
Clerides further said foreign envoys who were on the wings of the second round of the talks did not have any involvement in the negotiations but held meetings with both sides asking for clarifications on the positions raised.
Asked if any confidence building measures were discussed, Clerides said he made it clear to Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the Greek Cypriot side would not discuss such an issue in New York or Geneva because the talks "are aimed at finding a solution and not create measures of good will".
"If they want to discuss such measures, the SG has a representative in Cyprus, we are in Cyprus and if they take place parallel with a solution, we would certainly not rule them out", the president said, adding that the SG did not express such an intention.
Source: Athens News Agency