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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-12-06

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have reviewed the work done by their representatives and have decided the schedule of their meetings for December.

    Speaking after a meeting on Monday between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in the framework of the direct negotiation process, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Lisa Buttenheim said that the leaders met for just over an hour in a friendly atmosphere. They reviewed what their special representatives discussed in two meetings last week and exchanged views and they agreed to meet at their level at the level of the leaders - on the 13th, 21st and the 28th of December.

    The representatives will be meeting this Wednesday (8th) and Friday (10th), and they`ll decide on the schedule of their own meetings in the coming weeks as well, she added noting that on Wednesday there will be the first meeting of the committee on the opening of crossings.

    Asked if during January there will be all-day meetings between the two leaders, Buttenheim said the leaders havent decided on the dates yet. But, I think you can see that they are intensifying their contacts by meeting throughout the holiday period; as I mentioned, all the dates between now and the end of December with additional representative meetings that will be taking place over those weeks as well, and they have agreed in principle to meet two times a week, she noted.

    Asked what chapters will be discussed during their meetings, she said that the UN Secretary General when he met them in New York, in November, he asked them to focus on core issues and to try to agree on a practical plan for overcoming their remaining points of disagreement. So, this is going to be across all chapters, she concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    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.


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias had a one-and-a-half-hour meeting on Monday with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in the framework of UN-led direct negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem.

    On his return to the Presidential Palace and asked if the meeting focused on procedural matters, President Christofias replied affirmatively.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias and Eroglu are currently engaged in UN-led negotiations with an aim to reunify the island. They are due to meet the UN SG in Geneva, at the end of January, to report to him about their efforts to narrow the gap in their positions on the core issues of the Cyprus question.


    Preparations to recover three fire engines, trapped in a minefield in the UN-controlled buffer zone, in Nicosia district, are underway, UNFICYP Spokesperson Rolando Gomez told CNA on Monday.

    A risk assessment is being done to ascertain that feasibility, he said, adding that on Sunday an aerial reconnaissance took place during which photographs were taken of the location were the trucks remain. Our intention is to recover them to a position where they will be further removed, the UN spokesman added.

    As you know, he said, our chief priority was to get the firefighters and they managed to escape unharmed thanks to the expertise of our de-miners who are familiar with this type of operation.


    Fire fighting aircraft and their crews from the Forestry Department and the Police, which contributed to efforts to battle a huge forest fire close to the northern city of Haifa, in Israel, are due to return to Cyprus on Monday, Police Spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has told CNA.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hosting a luncheon for all foreign crews who participated in the fight to put out the fire, during which he will honour them, Katsounotos said.

    The Cypriot firefighting unit was the first foreign team to arrive in Israel on Friday morning, having sent a police helicopter and a Forestry Department aircraft. Three helicopter pilots, a police engineer, a Special Missions Unit policeman and officials of the Cyprus Forestry Department were sent to Israel.

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