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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-27

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias has expressed cautious optimism regarding the prospects of a Cyprus solution, saying expectations are ``very high.

    Addressing Thursday students of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Athens and the University of Palermo, who visited him at the Presidential Palace, he said the Greek Cypriot side would do its utmost to find a settlement.

    I assure you that we shall make every effort - always defending the fundamental principles of the Cyprus problem. We shall be flexible and show understanding for the problems the Turkish Cypriot community is facing, in the hope that they will reciprocate and understand our problems too, he said.

    The President referred to his meeting last Friday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat saying that the main goal is to find ways of understanding each other, something which will depend on several factors, mainly on the Turkish leadership.

    I do not attribute bad intentions to Talat but the Turkish leadership has not convinced us that indeed it gives the green light for us to proceed. This will become clear in due course, he said.

    On efforts towards a political settlement that would reunite the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, Christofias appeared cautiously optimistic. He noted that expectations are very high and wished that these are realised.

    Things are not simple and they are not as easy as they seem to be just because I met with Talat and we decided jointly to proceed with those positive steps, he noted.

    He warned that serious problem would arise during the latest effort towards a settlement.

    President Christofias said the road has opened after last Fridays meeting with Talat.

    However, he pointed out that he cannot guarantee whether this road will in the end turn into the avenue which will help us reach a solution for all the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.

    The Cypriot President referred to the first steps towards the implementation of what was agreed with Talat.

    It has been decided, he said, that six working groups will be set up to deal with the substance of the Cyprus problem and seven technical committees will deal with other aspects of the problem.

    He did not rule out the possibility that more committees are established in order to cover all aspects of the Cyprus issue.

    Our wish and our efforts concentrate on establishing the committees and their work, he added, noting that his next scheduled meeting with Talat, in three months time, will be important for the future course of this effort.

    We have agreed to meet in three months. When we meet we should assess the outcome of these committees to see whether we can begin intensive talks, he pointed out.

    He clarified that these committees should be productive and stressed that the committees and the groups are not a propaganda tool for either side but a message for the other side.

    The resumption of negotiations between the two community leaders should be justified on the basis of the work to be done at the committees, he concluded.

    Christofias and Talat met, under UN auspices, last Friday and agreed to ask their top aides to meet to set up the working groups and the technical committees, before they meet in three months time.


    Elizabeth Spehar, Director of Europe and America at the UN Department of Political Affairs, arrived in Cyprus Thursday to replace UN Secretary Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, Michael Moller.

    Spehar was appointed by UNSG Ban Ki-moon as interim head of the UN mission in Cyprus, replacing Moller, who is leaving.

    On Sunday Spehar will welcome UN Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pasoe who will visit Cyprus as part of a tour in the region.


    The Greek Cypriot side will start work tomorrow at Ledra street in Nicosia to facilitate efforts to open a crossing point to and from the islands northern Turkish occupied areas, Mayor of the capital Eleni Mavrou has said.

    The crossing point to ease movement of people in safety to and from the occupied areas will open by next week, she added.

    Meanwhile, technical teams of the so-called Nicosia municipality in the occupied areas started works today.

    Tomorrow machines and whatever equipment is need will be transferred to the area, the Mayor said, noting that we need around a week to open the crossing point and we expect this to happen at the end of next week.

    She further noted that a technical team, consisting of architects, civil engineers and mechanical engineers, inspected the area this morning and will conclude its survey tomorrow. The team is examining the condition of old buildings on site.

    Mavrou noted that the condition of some buildings is really bad and that the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has to verify that these old building will not put lives at risk and that safe passage of people will be guaranteed.

    Referring to the work expected to take place in the area, Mavrou said that first the engineers must probe up collapsing buildings and improve the road, install lighting in the street and make sanitary inspections.

    Following that, there will be some construction work, which will continue for several months to restore the facade of existing buildings. She explained that there will be no shops in the area, which will only be used as a passage.


    The consistent message that London has given to both President of Cyprus Republic, Demitris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is that the British Government wants to do everything possible to support the determination of the new Government in Cyprus to exploit the opening that now exists for a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution in that area.

    Responding to a question by member of the House of Commons, David Burrowes, Foreign Minister David Miliband referred also to the role of Prime Ministers special representative on Cyprus, Joan Ryan adding that we are as determined as the whole House is to ensure that there is a restart of these processes.

    Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the islands northern third.

    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed 21 March 2008 to ask their respective advisers, George Iacovou and Ozdil Nami, to meet in order to set up a number of working groups and technical committees and establish their agendas. The two leaders also agreed to meet again in three months to review the work done on various aspects of the Cyprus problem, the results of which will be used to start negotiations under UN auspices for a solution.

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