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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus President speaks to ANA-MPA

  • [01] Cyprus President speaks to ANA-MPA

    Coordinating the efforts of Athens and Nicosia during upcoming developments linked to the Cyprus issue will be the main goal of the talks he will have with Greece's leadership during a visit beginning on Tuesday, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias said in an exclusive interview with the ANA-MPA on Monday.

    Christofias will be meeting President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his first official visit to Greece after being elected Cyprus' president.

    Question: Apart from the self-evident symbolism of your visit to Athens, what will be the aim of your talks with the Greek government?

    Christofias: "The election of a new president has of itself triggered a new activity. I will meet with Mr. (Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali) Talat. The first meeting will be exploratory. From there on there are issues that are linked to Confidence Building Measures, opening Ledra Street and the road block at Limnitis.

    "There is more generally activity from the United Nations, the Security Council. I want to inform the president of the Republic and the Greek government and to exchange views on imminent developments. There will be a friendly exchange of views and I am sure that Greece will be on our side in the effort to revive a dialogue on implementing the July 8 Agreement.

    "Also before us is the EU Summit, on which we will exchange views. Of course, I am interested in finding out about developments related to Skopje. I am not going to Athens to build relations. There was flawless cooperation with the former president [Tassos Papadopoulos] but I myself, as Cyprus House Speaker, had very good ties with all of Greece's political leadership."

    Question: Will some guidelines be laid down about how Athens and Nicosia will proceed from now on?

    Christofias: "I think guidelines exist. What's needed is coordination and briefing."

    Question: Will your meeting with Mr. Talat take place after your return from Brussels in mid-March?

    Christofias: "Yes."

    Question: What is the obstacle to setting the agreement of July 8, 2006 into operation?

    Christofias: "This is what I will ask Mr. Talat. That is why I said that the first meeting would have an exploratory nature. After all, there is no other agreement that has been adopted by the Security Council. This agreement bears the signatures of Mr. Talat and Mr. Papadopoulos. I honour the signature of Mr. Papadopoulos, let him (Talat) also honour his own signature. I hope that in a climate of good will and mutual understanding we will see what the problems are, where the Turkish-Cypriot side considers there are problems so that this agreement can go ahead."

    Question: "Should the opening of Ledra Street, Limnitis occur before or after the meeting?"

    Christofias: "I shouldn't want to prejudice any outcome."

    Question: Does Mr. Talat's letter to the UN Secretary-General prejudice some matters?

    Christofias: "If everything said about its contents is true, then it is obviously prejudicial concerning some matters. These are issues that I will discuss with Mr. Talat."

    Question: Have you asked to meet the UN Secretary General?

    Christofias: "At the present stage, I don't want to burden the issues with new demands. Of course I want to meet the Secretary General, but priority in the agenda, for the present, goes to the meetings with (the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Cyprus Issue) Moller in view of the meeting with Mr. Talat."

    Question: Given that you have friendly relations with Mr. Talat, could there not be direct dialogue between you without the intervention of mediators for a solution of the Cyprus problem?

    Christofias: "The Cyprus issue is within the sphere of the United Nations. I consider that the UN is a safety valve. There is an occupation. The General Assembly and the Security Council have approved a succession of resolutions. Also, our position is that all five permanent members of the Security Council should take an active interest in a solution of the Cyprus problem. Consequently, it is my view that it would be a grave mistake to take the Cyprus issue outside its base, which is the United Nations."

    Question: You have stressed that the key to a solution lies in Ankara. Will you seek a direct meeting with (Turkish Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

    Christofias: "We will see this in due course. I do not rule it out at all, but Erdogan does rule it out."

    Question: If negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem begin, should Famagusta be handed over by the Turkish side to the UN?

    Christofias: "I think that we are pre-empting several things. I would not like to say anything before the first meeting with Mr. Talat takes place and before the National Council convenes. Consequently, I want to be restrained at this time in order for us to do as well as possible."

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