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Christofias says Britain must stop challenging Cypriots
2005-02-10 10:15:34

Athens, Feb 10 (CNA) - General Secretary of Cypriot AKEL party Demetris Christofias said today that Britain must understand that the Cypriots have feelings and dignity, which they stand up for, and called on the British ''to stop challenging the feelings of the people of Cyprus on a daily basis, for our benefit and theirs.''

Speaking in Athens after a meeting with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Molyviatis, Christofias said the main aim is to rid Cyprus of the Turkish occupation of its northern third, noting that the big question put to Britain is what she wants, ''in an effort to make her understand that, while choosing Turkey over Cyprus, she must understand that the Cypriots have feelings and dignity, which they cannot but stand up for.''

Replying to questions about his criticism against Britain, Christofias said he has expressed his views to Britain and noted that ''there are British interests in Cyprus, met through the Bases, which the Zurich-London agreements imposed.''

''No one wanted to ask for the dissolution of these Bases. Now and since 1960 we have many other internal problems, these problems were worsened after the invasion and occupation and became serious problems regarding relations with Turkey,'' Christofias said.

Christofias added that he discussed the Cyprus problem and the prospects for a settlement with Molyviatis, noting that there was ''as usual common understanding about what is to happen.''

Replying to questions, Christofias said the problems raised by the Turkish Cypriot side should be discussed but pointed out that ''we must also discuss the substance of the Cyprus problem, having in mind the results of the referenda.''

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. In April 2004, separate simultaneous referenda were held on either side of the divide on a UN plan for a settlement. The plan was accepted by the Turkish Cypriot community and rejected by the Greek Cypriot community.

Christofias, who is in Athens to attend the Greek Communist Party congress, also met today with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Parliament President Anna Psarouda Benakis and political party leaders.

Speaking after his meeting with Benakis, Christofias, who is also President of the Cypriot House of Representative, noted Benakis' interest in the Cyprus problem and pointed out the ''very friendly and coordinated fraternal relations between the two parliaments.''

Benakis said Christofias briefed her on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem, adding that ''the issues at hand are difficult and we need to continue our close cooperation.''

She expressed hope that the Cyprus problem would be solved ''so that we can attend to other forms of cooperation and understanding, which will be extremely constructive for both sides.''

Yesterday, Christofias was received by outgoing President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stefanopoulos.

Christofias is accompanied by AKEL's Spokesman Andros Kyprianou.

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