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Greek-Turkish Cypriot parties stress need for further contacts
2004-10-18 12:41:07

Nicosia, Oct 18 (CNA) - Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties, that met here today, have said that their regular encounters are effective and agreed on the need to intensify contacts between political parties and civil society.

A joint communique, issued after the meeting, said they exchanged views on ''the effectiveness of the bicommunal meetings and evaluated positively the need to strengthen further contacts between political parties and civil society of both communities thus facilitating efforts for an early solution of the Cyprus problem.''

The next meeting will be held on the 22nd of November at 10:00 local time.

In his remarks to the press, Mustafa Akkinci, leader of the Turkish Cypriot Movement of Peace and Democracy, said he did not expect any movement towards a solution before mid December when the European Union will decide whether to begin accession negotiations with Turkey or not.

''I regard it a very remote possibility,'' he said, noting that three out of four parties involved in the Cyprus question have got what they wanted.

He explained that Greece is an EU member, so is Cyprus as a divided country and Turkey will most probably get a date for membership talks.

''But we don't know what is going to happen with the Turkish Cypriots,'' he pointed out.

Responding to questions, he said that he did not think that Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos would exercise his right of veto at the EU December summit regarding Turkey's EU bid to obtain a date to commence accession negotiations.

He appealed to Cypriots to see the need for an urgent solution and try to create the internal dynamics rather than waiting from outside interference for help to solve the problem.

''It is now up to the Greek Cypriot leadership mainly to say what kind of changes they really foresee for a solution so that at least we begin a consideration'' of the solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Kutlay Erk, of the Republican Turkish Party, announced that its leader Mehmet Ali Talat, self-styled prime minister in Turkish occupied Cyprus, would no longer be representing his party at the joint meetings.

Erk said Talat's decision was the result of what he called ''a very unfortunate conversation he had with the Slovak Ambassador'' who has these party meetings under his auspices and who is said to have referred to the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU.

The party will be represented at the senior level, Erk added.

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