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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-09-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The cancellation of a pilgrimage by Greek Cypriots to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus will be discussed during a meeting President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will have on Thursday, as part of the ongoing peace talks, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou announced here today.

    Speaking after todays meeting between Christofias and the top UN envoy on Cyprus Alexander Downer, the Spokesman said that President Christofias briefed the UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus about this incident and explained why yesterdays meeting with Talat was postponed.

    The pilgrimage from the village of Pyrgos in Paphos district to the church of Saint Mamas in the Turkish occupied area of Morphou, via the Limnitis checkpoint, was called off on Wednesday, due to long delays caused by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Stephanou said the postponement of yesterdays meeting expressed the dissatisfaction of the government over the fact that the other side had breached the agreement reached on the matter. At the same time, he added, the Greek Cypriot side assured Downer of its readiness and determination to continue the UN-led direct negotiations with the same eagerness and consistency as it has done so far.

    He reiterated that our goal is to reach the soonest possible a settlement that will serve, first and foremost, the interests of all Cypriots.

    Responding to a question, the Spokesman said that Christofias and Talat have already exchanged views on the issue during the telephone conversation on Thursday afternoon and that they will also discuss this issue during their next meeting.

    Our position is to help negotiations to take place and we will again outline our views at the negotiating table, he added. He noted that during next weeks discussions, President Christofias will point out that there must be a joint effort and mutual respect to ensure that what is agreed between the two sides is implemented and to overcome any problems that may arise.

    Where there is good will that are solutions and where there is no good will, then problems may be created, even if there are not any. We are always working with good will aiming to help solve problems and not create new ones, he added.

    Stephanou said that if the aim is to promote trust and create a good climate that will help the negotiations, such incidents and such behaviour do not help at all and will cause adverse effects.

    Invited to comment on statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister, who tried to blame the Greek Cypriot side about the postponement of yesterdays Christofias-Talat meeting, Stephanou said that the settlement of the Cyprus question - through the agreed process - is an issue which concerns first of all the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.

    The dialogue belongs to the Cypriots. We will find a settlement to the Cyprus problem, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, but this does not mean that Turkey is relieved of its responsibilities concerning the settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Cyprus problem is a problem of invasion and occupation and so Turkey will have to decide to work towards a settlement that will end the occupation and reunite Cyprus, its people, its institutions and its economy, he added.

    Asked if Downer has informed Christofias of his intention to invite to Cyprus the UN Secretary General, Stephanou expressed the governments readiness to meet him any time.

    With regard to Christofias meeting with Downer, he said that during every meeting they have they discuss the Cyprus question, developments, the peace process or facts concerning with the issue of Cyprus, adding that these meetings are very useful because they give the opportunity for an exchange of views and an update from both sides.

    To a remark that Downer has not ruled out a more active role of the UN in the process for the Cyprus question, Stephanou said that the UN always act on the basis of their mission in Cyprus, as determined by the relevant resolutions. Any role or action are based on these resolutions, he concluded.


    The top UN envoy on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, has said that next weeks meeting between the leaders of the islands two communities will take place, reiterating the UN commitment to provide help to the two sides in the negotiating process.

    In statements after being received by President Demetris Christofias following the postponement of the Thursdays meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus indicated that the UN SG might visit the island, hopefully before the end of the year.

    Downer said he was very pleased that President Christofias has had a constructive telephone discussion with Talat, pointing out that this was a very wise and very constructive thing for them to do. The meeting is going to go ahead next Thursday, so there has been a bump in the road here, but it will be back to get to the talks during the course of next week.

    Yesterday Christofias and Talat had a telephone conversation where they exchanged views on the cancellation of a pilgrimage of Greek Cypriots to the church of Saint Mamas in the Turkish occupied areas, via the Limnitis crossing point on Wednesday morning.


    Vice-President of the National People`s Congress of the People`s Republic of China Hua Jianmin assured on Friday that China would continue, along with the international community, to play a constructive role in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, the Chinese official said ``we especially appreciate the efforts made`` for a Cyprus settlement, and expressed hope that, ``on the basis of UN resolutions, the Cyprus problem will at last be solved.``

    Garoyian and Hua Jianmin exchanged views on relations between the two parliaments, as well as bilateral and legislative relations between the two countries, along with the Cyprus problem and issues of mutual interest.

    The House President said the Greek Cypriot side`s positions on the Cyprus problem are based on international law, the values and principles of the EU, and UN resolutions, while the Turkish side is promoting a confederation solution.


    A British Foreign Office Spokesman has said that it is disappointing that the Cyprus talks have been affected by the incident at the Limnitis crossing point.

    The Spokesman was invited to comment on the fact that a pilgrimage from the village of Pyrgos in the Paphos district to the church of Saint Mamas in the Turkish occupied area of Morphou, via the Limnitis checkpoint, was called off on Wednesday, due to delays caused by the Turkish Cypriot side, which resulted to the postponement of Thursdays meeting between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus.

    We don`t wish at this stage to comment on this issue. However, it is disappointing that the talks have been affected in this way, the Spokesman said.

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