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Greek Premier meets party leaders
2003-04-20 16:00:43

Nicosia, Apr 19 (CNA) -- Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis met today political party leaders from both sides of the divide, as part of his contacts in his capacity as current president of the European Council. The meeting took place at the residence of Greece's Ambassador in Nicosia Christos Panagopoulos.

The premier said his visit here takes place in the framework of preparations for the June EU summit, in Salonica, and Cyprus is the first stop of a tour of 24 nations, EU members, after Cyprus and another nine countries signed on Wednesday the Accession Treaty.

This was the first time Simitis had a meeting Turkish Cypriot party leaders. All Greek Cypriot leaders of the eight parliamentary parties attended today's meeting but not all Turkish Cypriot party leaders.

Two Turkish Cypriots, the leader of the National Unity Party Dervis Eroglu and of the Democratic Party Serdar Denktas declined Simitis' invitation to participate in the meeting. Both are members of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Huseyin Agolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, Alpay Durduran, leader of the Movement of Patriotic Unionity, Izzet Izcan, of the United Cyprus party, Mehmet Suleymanoglu of the Socialist Party and so-called mayor of occupied Nicosia and Kutlay Erk, of the Republican Turkish Party.

As Simitis was entering the residence of the Greek Ambassador in Nicosia, Simitis was greeted by relatives of missing persons who told him that they look up to him for assistance in their efforts to establish the fate of their loved ones, missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.

Later today, the premier is meeting with former Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and with church leaders.

He leaves in the evening.|



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