02 March, 2006
The joint statement made after the meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in Paris was "a positive step in the right direction," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Wednesday.
"It is known that the Greek government is prepared to contribute to finding a just and viable solution in the framework of the United Nations, which is in accordance with international law and compatible with the principles of the EU. In this framework, the next steps must be careful and very well prepared," Roussopoulos added.
The statement was also greeted as a "very positive development" by Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos:
"We consider that it constitutes a step in the framework of our position in favour of a carefully and thoroughly prepared launch of a process of talks for settling the Cyprus issue," he said.
According to Koumoutsakos, the Cyprus President briefed Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the results of his meeting with Annan on Wednesday morning.
He said that the Greek side, while considering that it is too early to make an assessment and especially on issues like demilitarization, is aware that the "character and message going out" is in harmony with the Greek position calling for a stage of substantial preparation that will create the safety net to avoid a new failure.
In response to other questions, Koumoutsakos said he was unaware of any document from Turkish authorities seeking to activate a ban of flights by Cypriot aircraft through Istanbul's Flight Information Region (FIR).
The spokesman said Athens was aware of a ban preventing Cyprus Airways and the Cyprus state airline Charter Eurocypria from flying through Istanbul's FIR and said that a possible extension of the ban would need to be confirmed.
Should this be the case, it would be further proof of Turkey's unconstructive and inflexible stance, he added.
The spokesman also stressed that all issues were examined and evaluated in the framework of the decisions that have made Turkey a candidate-country for joining the EU.
Annan and Papadopoulos issued a joint statement after a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, during which they agreed to continue their ongoing dialogue "with the expressed aim of accelerating the search for a comprehensive, fair and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.''
They expressed hope that an agreement for continued discussion between the two communities on the island on a series of issues might lead to a full resumption of the negotiating process, while noting that this must be timely and based on careful preparation.
The two men also agreed that it would be beneficial for all concerned and would greatly improve the atmosphere for further talks if progress could be achieved on further disengagement of forces and demilitarization of the island, on the complete de-mining of Cyprus and on the issue of Famagusta.
Source: Athens News Agency