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Cyprus President Papadopoulos and Secretary General Annan meet to discuss resumption of talks on Cyprus issue
2006-02-28 15:45:45

Paris, Feb 28 - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan noted on earlier this week with satisfaction that the leaders of both communities in Cyprus have agreed that bicommunal discussions on a series of issues, agreement on which is needed for the benefit of all Cypriots, will be undertaken at the technical level.

A joint statement issued after an hour-long meeting in Paris between Annan and Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, read out to the press in English by Annan's Spokesman Stephan Dujarric, says that Annan and President Papadopoulos agreed to continue their ongoing dialogue with the expressed aim at accelerating the search for a comprehensive, fair and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.

According to the statement, ''UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan and President Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos met in Paris today [Tuesday] to review the situation in Cyprus and examined modalities for moving forward on the process leading to the reunification of the island.''

''They agreed, as they have in the past, that the resumption of the negotiating process within the framework of the Secretary General's good offices must be timely and based on careful preparation,'' Dujarric said.

He added that ''to that end the Secretary General was pleased to note that the leaders of both communities have agreed that bicommunal discussions on a series of issues, agreement on which is needed for the benefit of all Cypriots, will be undertaken at the technical level.''

''The Secretary General and President Papadopoulos expressed their common hope that these discussions would help restore trust between the two communities as well as prepare the way for the earliest full resumption of the negotiating process,'' he said.

Dujarric added that ''the Secretary General noted that he had received assurances from the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mr. Talat that he shared the same aspirations.''

''The Secretary General and Mr. Papadopoulos also agreed that it would be beneficial for all concerned and would greatly improve the atmosphere for further talks if progress could be achieved on further disengagement of forces and demilitarisation of the island, on the complete de-mining of Cyprus and on the issue of Famagusta,'' he said.

He pointed out that ''they took note of the recent decision by the European Union to release the much awaited funds for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community.''

''In this context they expressed their warm wishes for the full and speedy recovery of Mr. Talat,'' he added.

Concluding the statement, Dujarric said ''the Secretary General and President Papadopoulos agreed to continue their ongoing dialogue with the expressed aim at accelerating the search for a comprehensive, fair and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.''

President Papadopoulos, after returning from Paris, was pleased at the outcome of the meeting. Speaking to reporters in Larnaca, he said, “I believe that an important step has been taken in achieving the fundamental aim, which has been for long now the government and the National Council’s firm policy, ie before any talks begin, these must be well prepared. The Secretary General agrees with this and adopts this position, something which he repeated many times during our meeting".

He underlined that the “epicenter of the meeting was the preparation of talks on Cyprus, a review on the Cyprus problem as well as ways to proceed to a new round of talks”.

President Papadopoulos added the government “submitted specific suggestions on issues that we consider need careful preparation, both on collecting information so that political decisions can be taken on specific facts, such as the issue of settlers.”

The president also clarified that the SG did not make any reference to the Annan Plan during their meeting. “What we are discussing is a Cyprus settlement”.

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