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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-07-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The members of the National Council, top advisory body to the President, expressed their support to President Christofias on the handling of the Cyprus problem, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou has said.

    The National Council reconvened on Friday afternoon.

    According to the joint statement that Stefanou read after the meeting, the members of the National Council, after having expressed their views on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem, and some of them after having expressed some reservations, they declared their support to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, in order to continue the effort for paving the way for direct negotiations on the basis of the biggest possible progress.

    Stefanou also clarified that the President of the Republic will take the decision for the commencement of direct negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot side after consulting the political parties of Cyprus.

    Replying to questions, Stefanou said that consultation between the President Christofias and the political parties would take place before the next meeting between the two leaders on 25 July.

    Stefanou also pointed out that until that meeting the working groups and the technical committees will intensify their work.

    Invited to comment on information published in the Turkish Cypriot press that the direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities are set to begin on 1 September, Stefanou dismissed the reports.

    The National Council meeting had begun on Wednesday with a detailed briefing of the members on the latest developments by President Christofias, and continued today with the members of the National Council expressing their views and evaluations on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

    The National Council, comprising parliamentary parties, is reviewing developments after the latest meeting between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Christofias and Talat have met three times since March in an effort to resume direct negotiations, leading to a political settlement that will reunite Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.


    Chinese Ambassador in Nicosia Zhao Yali considers developments in the Cyprus problem to be encouraging with the setting up and operation of bicommunal working groups and technical committees and, despite the fact that the solution of this chronic problem is difficult, he nevertheless remains optimistic that the problems can be overcome.

    In an interview with CNA, Zhao Yali expresses China`s support to efforts to reach a Cyprus settlement and assures that his country`s policy on the problem is based on principles, a fact which cultivates mutual political trust between the two countries.

    He advises the leaders of the two communities to be patient, face difficulties with sobriety, and remain committed to their aim, which is the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on principles which will secure the interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole.

    Zhao Yali notes that bilateral relations in various sectors are excellent, especially in the political field, and expresses China`s gratitude for Cyprus` stance on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet, its assistance during natural disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Sichuan, and its support in relations between China and the EU.

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