Cypriot presidential candidates’ views

NICOSIA – Both Tassos Papadopoulos and Alekos Markides, candidates for the presidency of Cyprus in this month’s elections, see the plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem drawn up by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a basis for negotiations to resolve the political problem on the island, but observe that any resolution is dependent on Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s willingness to cooperate, though Denktash has been anything but conciliatory. Papadopoulos is supported by the AKEL and Democratic (DHKO) parties, and Markides, a former Attorney General and one of the main negotiators in drawing up the Annan proposal, is running as an independent. «I have never expressed any opposition to the philosophy of the Annan plan and my position is in line with the Cypriot National Council ruling, that is, that the plan is acceptable as the basis for negotiations,» said Papadopoulos, emphasizing that he and his supporters are «committed to a solution as soon as possible.» Markides, who is still a member of the National Council’s negotiating team, also affirms that the «Secretary-General’s plan is accepted as the basis of negotiations» and adds that he believes that «there is sufficient margin for negotiation.» As for Denktash’s stance, Papadopoulos believes the Turkish-Cypriot leader «will do everything possible to torpedo the plan,» while Markides claims that Denktash deserves a «gold medal for his persistent intransigence.»