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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-08-26

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The issue of territory was examined on Friday by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu during their one-day meeting, in the framework of the direct talks aiming at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor Alexander Downer told reporters after todays meeting which lasted more than five hours that it was an opportunity to focus the discussions on the issue of territory. It was agreed, he said, that the issue of maps and figures would be discussed at the very end of the process, so that wasnt the issue today, and the leaders had a good opportunity to exchange views and consider each others positions.

    Downer told reporters that he believes that during this phase it is really important that the leaders ``are able to have discussions in private obviously with us, and the principle of privacy needs properly to be respected here.``

    Otherwise it makes it very difficult to come here with different proposals and to discuss those different proposals, if there is going to be an analysis of them if there is a leaking of them publicly, an evaluation of them day by day by the UN,`` he added. Downer said he can understand it is frustrating not to get that information but always in these types of negotiations it is important to preserve that privacy.

    He underlined that there is a lot at stake in these talks, this isnt a game, this is really an important negotiation about the future of this island and it has all the implication for the eastern Mediterranean, the EU and in Turkey and their relations. Let us not play down the importance of this and therefore the importance of making sure the process is a proper process.

    On the schedule of the talks, Downer said they have set aside four meetings, of which this was the first, to talk about territory and so that there will be three more, the next one will be next Friday because of Bayram, then they will meet again on two occasions the following week and the week after that they will meet on three occasions. So there are a lot of meetings ahead on territory, property and then they will move on to other issues. We will announce them nearer to the time, he added.

    Downer said that during the talks, obviously the sides, occasionally, mention issues pertaining to property in the context of territory. However he said all issues at the end of the day interlink with each other in the Cyprus talks, of course they do. So there is a substantial overlap between the chapters and everybody knows that. But clearly the focus of the talks today was on territory.

    He said the you know what the maps and figures are. The point there is that this is a matter of special sensitivity and has been decided by the leaders to leave the specifics of those issues to the end of the process, which was their issue.

    Asked if they examined the issue of the beginning of exploration at Block 12 of Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, Downer replied that at Tuesdays meeting there was some discussion at the beginning of the meeting on oil and gas but subsequent to that, there was no discussion at all on oil and gas.

    He added, our overall view in relation to that issue is there is nothing more important to this island than to get an agreement here negotiated between the two sides and we do what we can to help achieve that. I think everybody knows this is an incredibly difficult process. Thirty-seven and it hasnt succeeded, we have been working on this in the current phase for three years and it is difficult. I am not saying that we cant succeed; I think we can succeed, but it is extremely difficult. So we want as fewer external issues to intrude as is at all possible and so far I think it is fair to say other than being some discussion at the beginning of the last meeting, it hasnt intruded in these talks and we obviously dont want it to intrude in these talks. Otherwise it will make the whole process much more difficult.

    Asked if he believes that the start of the exploration work at Block 12 in October will jeopardize the October meeting scheduled between the leaders and the UN Secretary General, Downer replied no I dont, there is no sign of that so far. Yes there has been time taken up discussing it, and there has been an exchange of views where you can imagine without me necessary having to articulate, the two sides do not share an identity of views on this issue. But no, it hasnt diverted beyond that the negotiations and as long as everybody exercises appropriate restraint, then I dont think it will have any impact, for example, the trilateral meeting between the SG and the two leaders here. So at this stage I have no sense that it will have any impact on that at all.``

    Regarding the issue of territorial adjustments, he said it relates to the notion of boundaries between constituent states. So that is the sort of boundary you are talking about, you are not talking about national boundaries. So in terms of Cyprus EEZ, that will be an EEZ for the whole island, and Cyprus having being reunited as a federation, the whole question of what we have been talking about, territorial adjustments, has no implications for this particular project.

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

    Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunify the country under a federal roof.


    Greece is in a position to defend the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, emanating from the Law of the Sea, Greek Minister of Defence Panayiotis Beglitis said on Friday, noting that Greece has a duty to make Turkey liable to international law.

    Briefing the Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament on bilateral relations between Greece and Israel, in view of his forthcoming visit to Israel, and commenting on Turkish threats against the cooperation between Cyprus and Israel, and explorations for natural gas, Beglitis said that ``we recognise and are in a position to defend the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, emanating from the international Law of the Sea.``

    ``The Republic of Cyprus is at the heart of our defence pact and we will defend these principles, if and when necessary. Beyond the threats and the continuing review policy of Turkey, we have the determination and necessary means to handle it. We have a duty, by undertaking dynamic initiatives, to make Turkey liable in the area of international law,`` he said.


    Cyprus recognises the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya as the legitimate representative of the people of the country, until democratic elections are held, and points out that it is imperative that Muammar Gaddafi surrenders immediately, Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoullis says in a statement.

    ``We are witnessing a remarkable wind of change in our neighbouring Libya. The regime of Colonel Gaddafi is over. It is imperative that Gaddafi accepts this irreversible fact and surrenders immediately so that hostilities end, thus avoiding, any further bloodshed,`` Markoullis notes.

    She adds that ``for this interim period and until democratic elections are held in our neighbouring country, Cyprus recognises the NTC as the legitimate representative of the people of Libya.``

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