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23 May, 2002
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday night accused the Turkish side of continued intransigence in the ongoing direct intercommunal talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash aiming at finding a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.
Addressing journalists after talks with visiting Cyprus President Clerides, Simitis said ''we analyzed all developments as they have been shaped from the beginning of the direct dialogue until today. We have ascertained that during these talks, despite the particularly constructive stance of the Greek Cypriot side in all the parameters of the problem, the Turkish Cypriot side remained steadfast to intransigent positions and primarily insists on the creation of two sovereign states.''
Simitis and Clerides discussed the course of the intercommunal talks and the outcome of UN secretary general Kofi Annan's recent visit to Cyprus.
The two countries' foreign ministers, George Papandreou and Ioannis Kasoulides, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis, Cyprus attorney general Alekos Markidis and Cyprus' government spokesman Mihalis Papapetrou participated in the Athens talks.
Simitis said afterwards that full accord between the two governments and the mutual desire for the coordination of actions to conclude efforts to resolve the political problem, as well as Cyprus' accession to the European Union, was confirmed.
He added that the results of this course were examined, as well as those regarding Annan's intervention, through his visit to Cyprus, reiterating that timetables must be observed.
Simitis further said that both Greece and Cyprus support the finding of a solution based on UN Security Council resolutions, international agreements, decisions taken by the European Human Rights Court and the acquis communautaire.
''We want a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with one international identity and one sovereignty,'' Simitis said and placed emphasis on the need for observance of the timetable for an end to the talks.
Simitis also said a solution to the political problem should safeguard the workability of the Republic of Cyprus and its possibility to take decisions, within the EU, and once again expressed the Greek government's undivided support for President Clerides.
The second major issue discussed was the course of Cyprus' EU accession negotiations which, as Simitis said, is reaching its end and Cyprus is steadfastly among the group of the first countries to join the EU, creating ''conditions of security for all Cypriots.''
Simitis reassured that the Cyprus issue remained the top national issue for Greece and that the country would make every possible effort for both the ultimate accession of Cyprus and a solution to its political problem.
On his part, Clerides said the meeting was part of regular consultations between the two governments and termed the talks as being of ''extreme importance'' due to the assessment of the course of direct talks so far, as well as the UN secretary general's visit to Cyprus.
Clerides said the aim of these talks was ''for us to see where we stand today and what actions we should take'' and thanked the Greek prime minister and the Greek government for the support and help they are offering to Cyprus.
Simitis further said responsibility is not attributed to the government of Cyprus, by any side, that it is not doing what is necessary for a solution to the Cyprus issue while, on the contrary, there is the view that the one not helping in achieving progress is Turkey.
He added that in 1994 Greece proposed the accession of Cyprus and since then has worked hard for this effort to meet with success.
Simitis said the crucial hour has now arrived and that ''we must be ready so that if there is an attempt for obstruction by anyone we shall react and achieve accession.''
Asked by the press whether there is information that the UN secretary general will place responsibility on the Turkish Cypriot side in his report to the Security Council, Clerides said the issue is premature and added that Annan will summon his special adviser Alvaro de Soto in early June and will ask him if progress has been achieved in the course of the talks since his visit and until then and afterwards he will prepare his good offices report for the Security Council.
President Stephanopoulos receives visiting Cyprus counterpart:
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday received visiting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who is in Athens to discuss the latest developments in talks for a solution to the Cyprus issue with Greece's leadership.
The two men discussed both the Cyprus issue and the island republic's progress in accession to the European Union.
Parliament Speaker receives visiting Cyprus president:
The Greek Parliament will not ratify any treaty for European Union enlargement in which Cyprus is not among the countries joining the Community, Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis reiterated on Wednesday, after receiving visiting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides in Parliament.
Clerides thanked Kaklamanis for the efforts made by him personally and the Greek Parliament in support of the Greek-Cypriot cause, saying that the Greek Parliament's refusal to ratify any treaty that excluded Cyprus had brought the desired results and ''been a huge help in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem''.
Source: Athens News Agency