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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus, Michael Moller, has said that a meeting between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus will probably take place towards the end of the second half of March.

    Moller, who was received by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, said that during the meeting they also talked about the opening of a crossing point, to and from the northern Turkish occupied areas, at Ledra street, one of the capitals main commercial streets.

    I had a very good meeting with President Christofias and he has told me that he is very keen and ready to meet with Mr Talat as soon as possible. He has asked me to continue working on that. Now, we will start the preparations for that meeting, probably towards to the end of the second half of this month, he said.

    Asked whether a UN agreement, of July 2006, should be the starting point for the meeting between the two leaders, Moller declined to comment on that but he said that both leaders have been very clear of their eagerness to start.

    They both think there is a good chance for them to do some very good work together and I share their optimism, he continued.

    Regarding the context of the leaders meeting and whether it should be the July agreement, he said that it is not for me to discuss, adding: everybody knows the positions of Mr Christofias and Mr Talat and they will have to discuss how they can reconcile those positions. That is the whole point of sitting down and having a good discussion.

    Moller said that during todays meeting they also talked about the opening of Ledra Street and said that President Christofias is equally eager for that to happen.

    We are also going to continue our preparation work for that and hopefully we will be a able to give you some good news very soon, he said.

    Invited to say when exactly Ledra Street will open, he said hopefully during this year certainly, as soon as possible.

    He pointed out that this is something which has to be discussed between Talat and Christofias when they meet and I am trying to make sure that this can happen before the end of the month.

    Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Efforts to open a crossing point at Ledra street have so far failed. The government insists that safe passage is secured with the withdrawal from the area of the Turkish occupation troops. The Turkish military have so far refused to move back from their positions.

    The July 2006 agreement was clinched between former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during a meeting in Nicosia in the presence of then UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari. It provides for a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.


    Developments in the Cyprus problem are expected soon, according to new Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou who has taken over his office from Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, saying that he starts hard work right away. The outgoing Minister said that difficult times are in sight, adding that now we are at the beginning (of developments) and as the new FM stressed his first priority is the Cyprus issue and he expects developments soon.

    The new Foreign Minister thanked President Demetris Christofias for his trust and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso as well as former President Tassos Papadopoulos who appointed him as Finance Minister and recommended him to become the EU Commissioner for Health, a post he held until today.

    Referring to his predecessor, he noted the openings she had made to the Arab countries, which makes things easier for him as he said, adding that Cyprus, an EU member state has a significant role to play because of to its geographical proximity to the Arab world.


    New Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has said that President Demetris Christofias reassured the UN of his will to work for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.

    He added that President Christofias conveyed to the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller, whom he met this morning, his wish to take initiatives in order to cultivate the necessary atmosphere for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus problem, starting from a UN agreement clinched in July 2006, and noted that efforts were being made for the President to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat before the end of March.

    Speaking at his first briefing of journalists, after he took over the post earlier on Monday, and referring to the meeting between President Christofias and Moller, Stephanou said ``the President of the Republic reaffirmed his will to work for a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.`` ``The President of the Republic underlined that for the Greek Cypriot side the basis of a solution is formed by the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979, which provide for a bizonal bicommunal federation, UN resolutions on Cyprus, and the principles of international and European law,`` he added.


    The head of the Church of Cyprus has called for unity on the home front with regard to the Cyprus question, pointing out this is necessary to achieve the best on the national issue. I had a very good meeting in a very civil atmosphere during which we reviewed developments. There is nothing that divides us, I will support the President, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said after a meeting with President Demetris Christofias.

    The Archbishop said he agrees with the President that there must be unity among the people and added: I have told him that he will succeed because he has good communication skills and having in mind that our opponent leaves very little room to manoeuvre, the President, I am sure, will expose them on, at least, issues on which there is no agreement. Questioned on the role of the church on the Cyprus issue, he said the Church had always maintained its own views on this, saying that there can be cooperation.

    ęThe Cyprus issue is a national issue, it concerns us all, not just the President or his government, the people have to rally together as in unity lies our strength, the Archbishop added, noting that he agrees with the views the President had outlined during their meeting. Cyprus top cleric declined to comment on his support for Christofias opponent in last months presidential elections. That belongs to the past. Let go. We look to the future, he told the press.

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