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G/C and T/C political parties examine settlers’ issue
2005-06-08 10:43:06

Nicosia, Jun 8 (CNA) --- The leaders and representatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties discussed today during their regular meeting at the Ledra Palace, the issue of settlers.

''They exchanged views on the issue of the ‘settlers’ on the island and decided to continue the debate on this sensitive subject'', the joint communique issued after the meeting says.

The communique, that was read out by Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Nicosia, Jan Varso, adds ''at the meeting it was agreed that the Greek Cypriots would also provide data on population''.

The leaders also welcomed the possibility to meet Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Kukan during a special bicommunal gathering at Ledra Palace on 24 June.

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders and representatives also conveyed wishes for the speedy recovery of Turkish Cypriot politician Ozker Ozgur, who is hospitalised in London.

The next regular meeting will be held on 7th of September 2005.

In statements after the meeting Deputy President of Democratic Party Nicos Cleanthous noted that the data presented today by the Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party on the issue of settlers, underestimates the problem.

''Turkish Cypriots underestimate the problem and see it as a technical issue. They legalize settlers, by giving them a different name. They do not consider settlers those who were given the so-called citizenship of the pseudostate, or their children'', he said.

But Cleanthous said that it was a positive and encouraging development that a debate has actually began on the settlers’ issue.

Cleanthous said that according to the Turkish Cypriot data, only 11,000 settlers could be given incentives to return to Turkey.

He noted that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political party representatives, have expressed the view that the issue of settlers influences the whole population of Cyprus.

Cleanthous also referred to the report of Finnish Parliamentarian Jaako Laakso on the illegal colonisation of the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus by Turkish settlers.

''The Laakso report has been adopted by the European Union so nobody could ever ignore it'', he concluded.

According to the Laakso report there are some 120,000 Turkish settlers and about 85,000 Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas. Around 55.000 Turkish Cypriots have already left the island.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern third.

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