Cyprus President insists no conditions for new talks

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Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that there should be no conditions, no restrictions and no other predetermined issues during a new round of Cyprus talks, stressing that ‘no talks will start if the prerequisites for success are not there’.

Papadopoulos said the meetings of his emissary to the UN Ambassador Tasos Tzionis beginning on Mondayy would cover both procedural and substantial issues relating to negotiations, if these are to resume.

Speaking to the press yesterday prior to his departure for Warsaw, Poland, to attend the Third Summit of the Council of Europe, Papadopoulos said ‘we have undertaken the commitment to keep these consultations confidential, to the extent possible.’

‘Our position remains the same and this is what we are looking into with these meetings in New York, so that the agenda and the procedure of the talks will be determined with the best possible accuracy to give hope that a new round of talks will lead to a successful outcome. No conditions, no restrictions and no other predetermined issues,’ he pointed out.

Asked if Tzionis would be invited to respond to a UN questionnaire, as press reports have suggested, he said: ‘not as far as I know.’

He noted that ‘we have undertaken to keep these consultations confidential, to the extent possible. We will keep our promise, as we have done for quite a long time now.’

Asked if he has set as a condition to the UN to give guarantees that Turkey will attend a new round of talks, the Cypriot President said that ‘we have said from the beginning that our wish is to resume a new round of talks.’

He said that after the April 24, 2004 referendum in Cyprus ‘we had expressed the opinion that there are no last chances to efforts to solve such political problems.’

‘Our position remains to be the same,’ he said, noting that ‘we do not set conditions or preconditions. We just express the belief that there should be the prerequisites for a successful dialogue.’

Asked if the US will play an important role if negotiations begin, Papadopoulos said that the US always has a role to play, adding that ‘this is not the decisisive issue for us.’

‘We have our positions, we know what we want and as I always say to the US, if the US and other foreigners claim to have the right to tell us what is good for our country, I think the Cyprus people have at least the right to judge by themselves what is good for them.’

He said he does not believe that ‘foreigners know better than us, for us, what is good for our country and our people.’ (CAN)