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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-03-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    For the first time in many decades there are now great possibilities to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, outgoing UN SG Special Representative to Cyprus Michael Moller has said, noting that the leaders of the two communities want a solution to the problem.

    According to an official press release, Moller who was received Friday by Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, for a farewell meeting also expressed wishes to every Cypriot for the best of luck at a time when there is great hope and great possibilities for a solution that has been elusive for far too long.

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that President Christofias thanked Moller for the positive, objective and constructive way, with which he worked the two years of his presence in Cyprus as well as for his contribution to the success of efforts for the resumption of a new Cyprus procedure.

    He also welcomed Elizabeth Spehar, the newly appointed UN Secretary Generals Special Representative to Cyprus, expressing the readiness of the Cyprus Government to support her mission.

    And of course we will support the procedure that starts on 7 April at the technical committees and working groups level because we really want to create the conditions which will allow to move towards negotiations between the two leaders and reach a just and viable solution, Stephanou added.

    Referring to the two leaders, Moller said they are full of good will, there is a very good atmosphere as is the desire on the side of both communities for peace and for reunification. It is a desire that is echoed in the rest of the world and it is time for everybody to get together and find a solution as quickly as possible.

    He further pointed out that he has worked hard for that and he is pleased that he is leaving at a time when there are such expressions of hope and of new possibilities, noting that his colleagues in the UN will continue to do what they can to help you achieve your goal.

    Asked whether he gave any advice to Spehar, Moller said to continue helping the two sides to fulfill the responsibilities they have. One of the themes that I have been stressing from the very beginning is that this is a Cypriot problem that needs a Cypriot solution. This is a theme that President Christofias and Mr. Talat both agree with. It is their responsibility as leaders of the two communities.

    He concluded that the role of the UN is to support them in getting to the point where the solution is at hand and we get something that is sustainable and that will hold.

    Asked whether there are possibilities now for the Cyprus problem to be resolved, Moller replied: Yes very much so, adding that from what I have seen in the last few weeks, I dont think that for four decades you have had a better possibility and a better opportunity to get where you need to go.

    Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed 21 March 2008 that Ledra Street will, as soon as technically possible, open and function in accordance to the established practices at other crossings. The crossing point at Ledra street will facilitate movement to and from the northern Turkish occupied part of the island.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third


    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos Kyprianou said Friday that it is more important the crossing point on Ledras Street to open in the most effective and secure manner rather that setting a timeframe for the opening of a street closed for more than 40 years.

    Kyprianou`s statements came as works for the preparation of the opening of the crossing point began earlier today. Thursday Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou said that Ledras could open by the end of next week.

    ``It is more important Ledras Street to open for crossing in the right and effective manner rather than to rush and set a timetable whether this could be done two days before of after,`` Kyprianou said speaking to the press before his departure for Slovenia where he will attend an EU informal Foreign Ministers meeting.

    ``Ledras street has been closed for more than 40 years and it will take some more days to make sure that everything will be done in the right way and the crossing would be made safely,`` he said, adding that the opening of the particular crossing point is a ``difficult and a technical issue with some political aspects.``

    Replying to a question whether there was any reaction on the illegal visit of Turkish Chief of General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit to the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, Kyprianou recalled the Cypriot government made its representations, which are noted.

    He also said that Buyukanit`s visit was discussed in the framework of the discussion in the European Parliament. ``In general this visit is not considered constructive,`` he added.

    Replying to a question on his forthcoming trip to the United States, Kyprianou said that he would participate to the summit of the Cypriot Federation in the US, as well as in the celebrations for the national anniversaries, organised by the Greek community, adding that he will hold contacts with officials of the US government and the parliamentary authority.

    Kyprianou said that the informal EU Foreign Ministers meeting would focus on issues such as the Middle East peace process, the problems in Lebanon, the EU - Russian relations and the issues regarding western Balkans.

    These issues concern directly the Republic of Cyprus because they relate to our region or affect friendly countries. We will be given the opportunity to contribute to the policy-making and to express the views of the Republic of Cyprus on these issues,`` he concluded.


    The Chairman of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament Martin Schulz assured Cypriot President Demetris Christofias that he will do ``whatever possible`` to support both sides on the island to find a solution of the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking after a meeting he had with President Christofias, Schulz said with Christofias election to the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus ``a new chance is given to be more flexible more open on both sides``.

    ``I think Mr. Christofias did what he announced to make the first step. It is now to the other side to answer in a constructive way and is up to Turkey to support those who want to come as early as possible to a solution``, he added.

    Asked what the EU can do for the Cyprus issue, he said ``whatever we can do it will depend at the end from the possibilities of the two sides``.

    ``I have spoken with Mr. Christofias clearly about the commitment of his government and we are highly interested to look how far the northern side community and the leadership is able to go``, he added.

    ``We are looking to the next necessary steps before the opening of the Ledra street and whatever we can do as Socialist Group, I will do. That`s what I gave as an assurance to Mr. Christofias and that concerns not only Cyprus, it concerns also our relations to Turkey``, Schulz concluded.

    The leadership of the European Parliaments Socialist Group is visiting Cyprus, at the invitation of President of the Cypriot Social - Democrats Movement EDEK Yiannakis Omirou.


    Cypriot Commissioner, Androula Vassiliou, will hold a hearing in the European Parliament on Tuesday, 1st April 2008, organized by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee .

    According to an official announcement, the newly designated Commissioner will answer questions from MEPs related with her political career, her views regarding the European Union and her plans related with the public health and consumer protection portfolio.

    It is expected that the hearing will also attend MEPs of the Agriculture Committee and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

    Mrs Vassiliou has been designated as Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner by the newly elected President, Dimitris Christofias, to replace Markos Kyprianou who left the Commission to become Foreign Minister.

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