Cypriot political parties agree contacts necessary
Nicosia, Apr 20 (CNA) - Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties met at Ledra Palace in Nicosia today and exchanged views on the current situation in the Cyprus problem, noting that contacts even on a bilateral level were necessary between the two sides so that they could understand each other's concerns.
Speaking after the meeting, political party representatives said all parties agreed that it was necessary to reach a settlement and reunite the island, and that contacts could help towards creating the conditions for the launching of a new effort to solve the Cyprus problem.
Leftwing AKEL's Spokesman Andros Kyprianou said it was necessary for Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties to be in contact in order to discuss the situation and especially the concerns of the two communities regarding the Annan plan.
Kyprianou noted that during today's meeting the parties exchanged views, adding that contacts were necessary ''towards creating the conditions that would allow a new effort to begin, aiming at a Cyprus settlement.''
Deputy President of the Democratic Rally Averof Neophytou said it was necessary for the Turkish Cypriots to understand the concerns of the Greek Cypriot side so that, when these concerns are addressed, the Greek Cypriot side would be able to back a new plan for a Cyprus settlement.
Neophytou said that during today's meeting there was a common understanding ''on the necessity to reunite our homeland.''
Deputy President of the Democratic Party Nicos Kleanthous said that during today's meeting ''we addressed issues in a more practical way and determined what we need at this moment in our relations,'' adding that it was necessary ''to sit and talk sincerely and try to understand each other.''
He added that the parties agreed it was necessary for the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties, ''even on a bilateral level, to discuss all the issues that are of concern to us.''
President of the Social Democrat Movement EDEK Yiannakis Omirou said the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties had both different and common views on the possibility of resuming talks under UN auspices for a Cyprus settlement.
He said that at today's meeting he submitted EDEK's position that the UN Chief should proceed with deliberations with the two sides and that ''at that stage the Greek Cypriot side would be ready to submit its views regarding the Annan plan and irrespective of it.''
Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party Serdar Denktash said most Greek Cypriot parties did not appear ready to reply to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's call for a list of the changes the Greek Cypriot side would like to the Annan plan for a Cyprus settlement.
Denktash said ''we are just trying to understand each other and it seems that we still have certain difficulties in understanding the concerns of either side,'' adding that ''we will nevertheless continue of course with all these meetings and so on and try to understand the concerns of each other.''
Leader of Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus Party Izzet Izcan said ''what is important for us is not to drag on the procedure discussion,'' adding that ''what we need is the resumption of the negotiations and we must not lose time arguing on the procedures.''
Izcan said ''it is clear that the solution will be based on the Annan plan and that some elements of this Annan plan have to be changed in order to satisfy the Greek Cypriot community,'' adding hat it would be ''a useful and positive step if Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Talat meet.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. A solution plan proposed by Annan was put to the two communities in separate simultaneous referenda. It was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side and accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side.
The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties have been meeting at Ledra Palace for the past few years, at the initiative of the Slovak Embassy on the island.