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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-09-03

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President Demetris Christofias expressed on Friday hope for a ``serious discussions`` on the property chapter, in view of the two all-day meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in the framework of the UN-led direct talks for a Cyprus settlement.

    In statements after his arrival at the Presidential Palace following today`s meeting with Eroglu, the President said that no documents were submitted today, adding that the positions of the two sides on property will be submitted ``in due time.``

    ``We referred orally to our general positions on property. The substance is still ahead of us and the discussion will commence next week,`` President Christofias said speaking to the press.

    Replying to questions, the President said that no documents were submitted during the meeting and that the two sides outlined their positions orally.

    The positions of each side will be ``submitted in due time,`` he said, adding that no change was made in the process of the all-day meetings to be held on September 8 and 10.

    Asked if the Turkish Cypriot side has shifted its position in the right direction, the President said everyone, including the Greek Cypriot side, believes that their positions are moving in the right direction.

    ``There will be a serious discussion. I hope that the discussion will be serious because we want confidentiality to be observed. If we want to have a move forward, which I truly hope, confidentiality must be observed,`` he added.

    The President explained that he had asked for a change in the date of the first all-day meeting, from Tuesday to Wednesday. On Monday, the President will we be in Athens to attend a special event marking the 50eth anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus.

    ``This is why we had requested an extra day, to give us time to examine what the Turkish Cypriot side has outlined,`` he concluded.

    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 its northern third.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met on Friday in the context of direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, and mainly discussed the property issue.

    Speaking after the meeting, the UN Secretary General`s Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said ``the leaders have had a good discussion, predominantly on the property issue,`` and have agreed to meet on September 8 and 10.

    ``Next week they are going to have two all-day meetings. They have agreed to make a small change, instead of having the two all-day meetings on Tuesday and Friday, to have the two all-day meetings on Wednesday and Friday,`` Downer said.

    He added that ``it is not an important change but it is for logistical reasons,`` and that ``they both wanted to change from Tuesday to Wednesday, and we can accommodate that in the United Nations.``


    It should have been packed with people, constantly busy; there should have been lights beaming and all kinds of sounds echoing around the place. Yet is it silent. Nicosia International Airport (LCNC (NIC) ICAO code) has been waiting for us 20 years on after we first visited the place. I had hoped that this date would have taken place under normal circumstances, perhaps for a cup of coffee or a trip, and not accompanied by UN officials.

    Situated on the western tip of the capital Nicosia, the NIC, declared as abandoned by the ICAO, has been included in the area declared as a United Nations Protected Area (UNPA) in the buffer zone since hostilities ended following the July 20th 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    For years now, within the framework of direct negotiations to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, the media has been visiting the UNPA to cover the talks. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots wait patiently each time for the end of these meetings and possible statements, they talk about this, read the newspapers or file stories. Almost every time I find myself looking towards the NIC terminal, wondering how things are after so many years of neglect. The airport seems frozen in time.

    After the necessary procedural arrangements, CNA photographer Katia Christodoulou and I were given the go ahead by UNFICYP to visit the airport. On a blistering August afternoon, we arrive at the UNFICYP gate, waiting for Captain Thomas Dano to escort us and be our guide.

    We take the usual road within UNPA, although this time it leads us straight to NIC. Its view sends shivers down my spine. The slight wind blowing the dry weeds that shoot up from all sides at the airport entrance and waterless fountains warn me of what we are about to witness.

    UNFICYPs mandate is to maintain the status quo. And this is why time has stood still. The orange colour of rust permanently adorning anything made of iron. Barricades have been put up at different spots and together with plastic bottles, paper, shattered glass and tins form the decoration of this strange site.

    NOTE: The complete story can be found on the Special Issues section of the CNA website and is available free of charge.

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