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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 09-10-07

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will continue their discussions on Thursday in the framework of the second round of UN-led direct negotiations, which began in September 2008, with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974, concentrating on the issue of governance.

    UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer told reporters after Wednesday`s meeting that the leaders met in a good climate and will hold another two meetings next week.

    Christofias and Talat decided during their previous meeting in September 2009 to accelerate the pace of their meetings, which take place in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    In his remarks, Downer said that Wednesday`s meeting lasted longer than originally planned.

    The delay in finishing the meeting forced the leaders to cancel an olive tree planting ceremony that was scheduled to take place at the end of the meeting.

    Asked why they did not plant the olive trees today, Downer replied the meeting went overtime.

    When asked, President Christofias said, we are in a hurry, adding they will plant the trees next week.

    Downer said the leaders began the tete-a-tete in a normal way and had a discussion for a while there and in the plenary discussions about the issue of governance and presidency and so on. That took up the bulk of the discussion. The leaders will be meeting again tomorrow to continue with the discussion on governance and they are meeting again next week Wednesday and Thursday as well.

    Asked what was the climate at the meeting, Downer replied very friendly, very easy going sort of discussion, a lot of broad discussion about the different approaches to these issues which is very important.

    Downer said he will be present Thursday but next week he will be away and will be back here again on a fairly constant basis until the end of the year.

    Asked if he is planning to move to Cyprus, Downer said he rents a house in Cyprus adding that his wife will be coming to Cyprus in the week after next.

    To a remark if this implies more permanency, Downer said this is an arrangement that has been made when I was employed by the UN, the SG, that I should do this job, adding that as the process gets into the second reading, I will spend higher and higher proportion of my time here.

    Downer also clarified that he was asked whether there would be a signing of an agreement by the end of the year or the beginning. I dont know, it is a matter for the leaders, he answered.

    Asked if he is annoyed or disturbed at the speculation surrounding his name, Downer said it is just not the central what I am doing here. It is not the main issue. Its really important here in Cyprus that people concentrate on the central question of getting the Cyprus question resolved. This is an issue that has been going on for decades and its a hard enough issue to resolve and none of us in the UN are here to inject ourselves in the process as personalities of the process. Our role is here and to be helpful. We are not local people. And whatever solutions Cypriots come up with, it wont affect our personal lives. We have come here to help, he concluded.


    Bulgaria expects that the intensification of UN-led negotiations on Cyprus will lead to a final settlement of the Cyprus problem, President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov has said, adding that his country supports UN Security Council decisions and respects the right of each side to outline its positions.

    Parvanov commended Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on his initiatives to help find a negotiated settlement, saying that discussion can help bridge the gaps between the positions of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.

    In an interview with CNA on the occasion of his forthcoming visit to Cyprus on October 9 and 10, Parvanov expressed the belief that his talks in Nicosia will contribute to enhanced bilateral relations and closer ties within the EU.

    The Bulgarian President said that Sofia has been following a coordinated policy as an EU member to help build friendly relations and cooperation between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, noting that this would not only be in the interest of both countries, but it will also have regional and international ramifications.

    Referring to EU enlargement, Parvanov said that it constitutes an important tool to help achieve EU strategic objectives, stability, security and prosperity, noting that his country will support the membership of any candidate for EU accession country, provided it meets the relevant criteria and conditions.

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