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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-09-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed his commitment to do his utmost to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, noting that this has been a life-long goal for him.

    President Christofias, who delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution on Cyprus: Current Developments and Prospects for the Future, talked about the recent developments as regards the Cyprus problem and explained his goal for a bizonal, bicommunal federation that would allow peace, prosperity and security for all citizens of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins.

    Referring to the ongoing UN led Cyprus talks, he said that with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat they achieved progress in the chapter of governance and power-sharing, but added that serious problems have arisen at the talks with current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on the chapter of properties.

    He explained that Eroglus position on the property chapter is that current users of the properties in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus should have the first say as regards the property, while the Greek Cypriot side believes that the legitimate owner of the property must have the first say.

    President Christofias said that the property issue is a matter of violation of human rights by Ankara, noting that the Greek Cypriot sides policy is to secure the human rights for all Greek Cypriot refugees, who had to abandon their homes and properties during the Turkish invasion against Cyprus in the summer of 1974.

    Analysing the three proposals he had submitted last July on the Cyprus issue, which aim at speeding up the process at the talks, he expressed hope that Ankara will change its initial stance and accept his proposals, saying that this would be to the benefit of Turkish Cypriots and help Turkeys EU accession course.

    Ankara, he said, is not ready now for a solution of the Cyprus problem, due to a series of other problems it faces.

    I do not question President Guls or Premier Erdogans will for a solution. Maybe they want this to happen at a later stage. But I do not believe that at this stage they are ready, he went on to say.

    He said that Cyprus, Greece and Turkey have to collaborate for the resolution of regional problems and the restoration of human rights in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.

    The President referred to the Cypriot governments policy as regards Turkish Cypriots, the trade of their goods via the EU Green Line Regulation and expressed the wish that Cyprus is soon reunified.

    Replying to questions from the audience as regards Turkeys EU accession course in connection with the Cyprus problem, President Christofias reiterated that Nicosia supports Turkeys EU accession, underlining that this support depends on the fulfillment by Turkey of its obligations towards the EU and Cyprus itself.

    The Cypriot President noted that an EU member state cannot maintain occupation forces on the territory of another EU member state.

    In this context, he said that the Cyprus problem is not the greatest obstacle in Turkeys EU accession, pointing out that other EU member states favor a privileged relation with Turkey instead of a full accession.

    He said that the Turkish leadership will have to separate the Cyprus problem, which is a problem of invasion and occupation, from the other problems it faces at its EU accession course.

    Replying to another question as regards the existence of Turkish troops on Cyprus territory, he expressed the view that Turkey will not withdraw its troops prior to the achievement of a solution, noting, however that if Ankara decides to withdraw even a small part of its troops prior to the solution, this would be a token of good will.

    My position, he said, is that all foreign troops should be withdrawn from Cyprus, but noted that at a meeting he held with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown he had explained to him that this is not the time to raise the issue of the British Bases. Britain has retained two military bases in Cyprus since the island gained its independence in 1960.

    I am ready for a solution. I was elected to solve the Cyprus problem, he stressed, adding that this has been a life goal for me.

    Asked about the Cypriot governments position as regards direct trade of Turkish Cypriots with the EU, President Christofias stressed that the Republic of Cyprus as a sovereign state has to be respected, adding that direct trade would mean recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, adding I will not allow that to happen.

    He recalled his proposal regarding trade from the port of Famagusta under UN auspices, saying that this would improve the economic situation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    The Cypriot President also expressed the view that the fact that many Turkish Cypriots have abandoned Cyprus and live in other countries is linked to Turkeys policy to give priority to the needs of the illegal Turkish settlers and not to Turkish Cypriots themselves.

    Asked about relations between Cyprus and Israel, he clarified that those relations have always been good, adding that their improvement has no connection with recent problems between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

    Reiterating Cyprus support towards the Palestinian people and the foundation of an independent Palestinian state, he said that relations between Israel and the Arab world have to be restored in order to achieve conditions of peace in the region.

    Moreover, he called upon the Arab states to recognize Israels right of existence in order to have mutual respect.

    Later today, President Christofias will inaugurate in Washington a unique exhibition on Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations at the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History, to mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In July, the Cypriot President announced three proposals on the Cyprus issue. The first provides for linking the discussion on three chapters in the Cyprus problem, those dealing with property, territory and immigration, to facilitate the resolution of the thorny chapter on properties and expedite the dialogue.

    The second proposal urges Turkey to apply UN Security Council resolution 550, which calls for the transfer of the fenced off area of Varosha, in Famagusta, to the administration of the United Nations. Part of this proposal is the opening of the port of Famagusta under EU auspices to benefit the Turkish Cypriots.

    The third proposal is to convene an international conference when within range of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third territory. Cyprus UN - led talks are underway between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.


    British Ministers regularly discuss with their Turkish colleagues ways in which Turkey can help towards a solution of the Cyprus problem, British Minister for Europe David Lidington has told a press conference. We very much want to see success in the Cypriot led negotiations that are taking place under UN auspices, he added.

    Referring to the currently ongoing UN-led negotiations between Cyprus President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community which aim at a comprehensive solution to the de facto partition of the island after the 1974 Turkish invasion, Lidington said that at the moment Britain wishes UN SG Special Advisor Alexander Downer and the leaders of the communities in Cyprus well.

    We think that all sides need to work together constructively and imaginatively to reach a solution that will satisfy the hopes and aspirations of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, he added. Lidignton said Turkey has an important role to play in securing a long term settlement to the Cyprus question, adding that the regular conversations British Ministers have with their Turkish colleagues about how Turkey can help towards a solution will continue.


    The Cyprus issue was at the top of the agenda during a meeting between UN Secretary General and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, on the sidelines of the 65th General Assembly. According to a press release, they had an in-depth discussion on Cyprus, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East and the situation in Afghanistan.

    The Secretary-General underscored his support for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian direct negotiations, and expressed his hope that they would help bring about a comprehensive regional peace soon. The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister discussed the Progress Report of the Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident and acknowledged the submission to the Panel of the Turkish governments interim report.

    The Secretary-General commended Turkeys support to a range of initiatives in including the Cyprus talks, the Middle East peace process, the forum of Least Developing Countries, and to Somalia. He thanked Turkey for making available Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal of the Republic of Turkey, to take up the position of United Nations Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan.


    Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou has concluded his contacts at the UN seat and has gone to Washington to attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of Natural History.

    On Monday, Kyprianou had talks with the Foreign Ministers of Israel Avidgor Liberman, of Iraq Hoshyar Zebari, of Gabon Paul Toungui, and of Brazil Celso Amorim. During his contacts, Kyprianou discussed bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue.

    On Monday afternoon, Kyprianou participated in the Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Commonwealth Member States, which took place on the sidelines of the 65th UN General Assembly.

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