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26 February, 2003
Foreign minister George Papandreou on Tuesday told reporters that a visit by Cyprus President-elect Tassos Papadopoulos to Athens was very significant ''in light of crucial developments'' on the Cyprus issue and said he had instructed his ministry to develop full cooperation with the Cyprus government.
Papandreou and Papadopoulos had just concluded a meeting at Athens airport before the newly elected Cyprus president boarded his flight back to Nicosia.
Prior to his departure, Papadopoulos told reporters that ''adherence to UN Chief Kofi Annan's time frame (with or without an extension) depends on the stance of the Turkish side''.
He once again noted the identity of views between Athens and Nicosia and thanked the Greek government for its unstinting support.
Annan has urged Turkey, Greece and the two sides of Cyprus to unite the island before the expiration of a February 28 deadline, which is crucial if a united island is to join the EU when Cyprus signs the Accession Treaty with the Union in April.
Mumtaz Soysal, a close aide of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash last Friday said the latest Cyprus peace plan presented by Annan encompassed the same spirit as the previous ones, claiming that it essentially offered no new improvement for the Turkish-Cypriot side.
Moreover, the first meeting between Greek and Turkish foreign ministry delegations to discuss security and guarantees for Cyprus, on the basis of UN proposals ended in an impasse in Ankara on Friday due to the intransigent stance of the Turkish side. It was agreed that a date for the next meeting would be determined through diplomatic channels providing developments allowed it.
Source: Athens News Agency