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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-12

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has stressed that a UN-brokered agreement, in July 2006, must be the basis of any talks aimed at a political settlement.

    The Greek-Cypriot side insists that the basis of meetings and talks, if a serious effort is to be carried out for the solution of the Cyprus problem, is the July agreement, he said.

    The agreement provides for preparatory discussions at committee level ahead of substantive negotiations, between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, leading to a settlement that would reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport before his departure for Brussels to participate in the spring session of the European Council, the President said ``we are not talking about suffocating deadlines.``

    He called for patience until it is established whether a check-point at Ledra street, allowing access to and from the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, will open or not, and under what terms.

    Christofias assured that the Greek-Cypriot side has made no concessions on this issue.

    He said that at next weeks meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat the position of the Turkish side as well as that of the Greek-Cypriot side will be formally outlined.

    The President described as not encouraging recent comments by the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot sides regarding efforts to resume negotiations.

    ``It seems indeed that we will face problems. The statements are a provocation but I shall not respond to them now, I will reply to these provocations at my meeting with Talat,`` he said, adding that he prefers to talk face to face with Talat and explain his positions.

    President Christofias expressed hope that he would be able to announce the opening of a crossing point at Ledra at his meeting with Talat.

    He said in Brussels he will meet the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pottering, the President of the Socialist Group Martin Schulz and other EU officials.

    President Christofias said that in the spring session of the European Council, the leaders will pay particular attention to the launch of the second cycle of the renewed Lisbon Strategy (2008-2010), climate change and energy, and the stability of financial markets.


    Cyprus Acting President, House President Marios Karoyian has expressed hope that next weeks meeting between the leaders of the two communities will prove fruitful both as regards the opening of a crossing point at Ledra street and the implementation of a UN agreement of July 2006. Karoyian`s statements came after the announcement that President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will meet on March 21.

    Replying to questions, Karoyian said that the meeting of aides to the two leaders took place in a good and constructive climate, adding that ``it seems there is positive convergence of views regarding the opening of Ledra street.`` ``We hope that the meeting will bear fruit, will settle the issue (of Ledras street) and at the same time will lay the basis for the implementation of the July 8 agreement,`` he said. The agreement, signed by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, provides for discussions at committee level with a view to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations, aiming at a political settlement that would reunite the country.

    Karoyian noted that the Turkish side insists on its long-standing positions such as the return of a UN-proposed solution plan, the Annan plan, approved by the Turkish Cypriots and rejected by the Greek Cypriots during the April 2004 separate referenda, the birth of a new state in Cyprus instead of the evolution of the present Republic into a federal state and tight timetables, noting that ``with such rational, things will not move towards the right direction.`` ``We hope that the Turkish side will understand that such policies and such views do not assist the effort for the reunification of our country, our people, the society and the institutions,`` Karoyian concluded.


    The German embassy in Nicosia has given assurances that Germany`s policy on Cyprus has not changed. Charges d` Affaires of the Germany embassy in Nicosia Joachim Heidorn told CNA today that the embassy is aware of German MP Claudia Roth`s visit to the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus. Roth will be arriving in Cyprus via the illegal airport of Tymbou in the Turkish occupied part of the island.

    ``We are informed about the visit. But Mrs Roth is not a member of the German government. We can only give advice to the MPs, we cannot instruct them``, he said. Answering questions, Heidorn stressed that ``Germany`s policy regarding Cyprus and the Cyprus issue remains unchanged``.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. The illegal regime in the Turkish occupied north is recognised only by Ankara and the UN has called on all states not to recognise or facilitate the secessionist entity in occupied Cyprus.


    Significant progress on the Ledra Street issue has been achieved at a meeting between Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou and Turkish Cypriot leader`s adviser Ozdil Nami, at the office of UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus and UNFICYP Chief of Mission Michael Moller. In statements to CNA, Iacovou confirmed that Christofias and Talat will meet on Friday, 21 March at the residence of Moller and expressed hope that everything will be ready to be decided during the two leaders meeting.

    As far as the checkpoint is concerned (Ledra Street), we have made significant progress, Iacovou told CNA, adding that we will continue our efforts through Mr. Moller and I have credible hopes that everything will be ready to be decided by President Christofias and Mr. Talat on the 21st. Iacovou said that the two discussed the imminent meeting, procedural issues and other possible matters. The agenda will be open, the issue of other checkpoints, with special emphasis on Limnitis checkpoint, he said, might be discussed.

    He stressed that the Greek Cypriot side is going to next weeks meeting based on the July 8 meeting.

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