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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-07-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, continued the discussion on property issue on Wednesday in a very good atmosphere, Alexander Downer, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on Cyprus, has said.

    Speaking after the meeting, which took place in the framework of the direct negotiations at the United Nations Protected Area of Nicosia, Downer said that the leaders had a meeting, for slightly under two hours, in a very good atmosphere.

    It was a very positive atmosphere. They continued the discussions about property, and the representatives will be meeting again on Friday afternoon (30th July) to continue with those discussions, and the leaders are to meet again on the 4th of August next week, and then they have a meeting on the 10th of August as well, he said.

    Downer also referred to the dinner that Eroglu will be hosting tonight. The two leaders and the two representatives and I and our spouses are very much looking forward to the dinner tonight with Mr Eroglu, he is hosting the dinner, and we appreciate very much his invitation, he said.

    Replying to a question on the substance of the talks, on the property issue, Downer reiterated that todays meeting was a very good meeting.

    This is one of those issues where the quality of the meetings inevitably varies from time to time, as you would expect in every single negotiation that ever takes place anywhere in the world. But todays meeting was held in a very good atmosphere, he noted.

    As to the substance of the negotiations, Downer said that he is not going to get into the substance of the negotiations, noting that all negotiations have to be held with a degree of privacy.

    Peace talks began in September 2008 between President Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Talks continue now with Eroglu, who succeeded Talat in April this year.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


    Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has expressed support to the Cypriot government`s initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem, a development which would contribute towards stability in the region. Speaking after a meeting in Nicosia with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou and talks between their delegations, Sheikh Abdullah expressed gratitude for Cyprus` efforts to build bridges between the rest of the world and the Palestinians living in Gaza, and said the UAE was keen to explore further opportunities to strengthen ties with Cyprus, in areas such as tourism, renewable energy and port management. Before the talks of their delegations, the two Ministers signed an agreement on the Mutual Exemption of Entry Visas for Holders of Diplomatic, Special and Service Passports, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Political Consultations between the two Ministries.

    Kyprianou described relations between Cyprus and the UAE as ``excellent`` and noted that ``Cyprus has recently opened up an Embassy in Abu Dhabi and we are looking forward to having a presence of the UAE in Cyprus as well.`` ``We discussed political and other issues of common interest. We have signed two agreements, which will help facilitate the contacts and meetings between the two governments,`` he said, adding that there were ``other agreements in the process in the areas of economy, tourism, investments and services.`` Kyprianou said that ``Cyprus, as a member of the EU, is a very strong supporter of the relations between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and we have always taken this firm position in the Councils, both in our speeches and interventions, but also with written proposals.`` ``We consider that the UAE and the other GCC countries are strategic partners of the EU. We believe that we should include them in the discussions and the decisions that are taken on regional issues. The input and the contribution of the UAE and other countries of the GCC group in our discussions will only help us take the right and correct decisions,`` he added.

    Sheikh Abdullah said they had very useful back-to-back meetings and covered ``a range of issues,`` adding that relations between the two countries was ``developing rapidly.`` ``We are very keen in further exploring this relationship in different fields but also I would say that we are very delighted and honoured by your decision to open up an Embassy in the UAE, and hopefully we can look at the closest opportunity in opening up a mission here in Cyprus,`` he added. The Foreign Minister of the UAE expressed ``support to your government, to the President, in your initiative in resolving the Cyprus issue,`` adding that ``it is something that we believe would add further stability.`` ``We believe our region has been suffering from a lot of issues,`` he said and supported ``getting these issues behind us, including the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis.``


    An event will be held on Thursday to mark the formal opening of the new dedicated building for the Joint Communications Room (JCR), a project run by the UN-sponsored Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters (TCCCM). According to a UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) press release, the opening of the new dedicated location for the JCR, in what was a former UN observation post within the Ayios Dometios crossing point in Nicosia, was made possible with the support provided to the TCCCM and the JCR by the UNDP and the donor countries who support their efforts.

    The UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer will be delivering opening remarks at the event, and US Ambassador to Cyprus Frank Urbancic will be addressing the event, as the US is the main financial contributor to the project. The event will be attended, inter alia, by the heads of the TCCCM Andros Kapardis and Hakki Onen, the Facilitator for the Committee and Deputy Senior Policing Adviser for UNFICYP Commander Phil Spence, and the aides of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, George Iacovou and Kudret Ozersay.

    The JCR operates on a 24-hour basis. Two representatives from each community meet six days a week and have a continuous on call arrangement. Matters dealt with the JCR include a very broad spectrum of criminal activity and include, among other things, murders, drug offences, thefts, people smuggling and trafficking. The TCCCM is one of seven specialised committees formed as a confidence building measure between the two communities, with the support of the UN.

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