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Cyprus President wants to discuss humanitarian issues with T/C leader
2006-03-27 14:20:21

Nicosia, Mar 26 – Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said he is willing to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to discuss with him humanitarian issues such as the missing persons’ one.

The President also said that he hoped the meeting will take place if and when the first session on the issue of the missing persons will be held with a Red Cross Representative and will solely concern this matter.

Invited to comment on a letter sent to Talat by UN Undersecretary General on Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari explaining what had taken place at the Paris meeting in February between President Papadopoulos and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the President said he was satisfied with the contents of the letter.

President Papadopoulos also said the letter does not negate what was agreed in Paris, adding that the talks that will take place will deal with every day issues and issues of substance, otherwise there will be no negotiations.

He expressed the hope that Turkey will soon respond positively to starting the talks on the basis of what was agreed in the French capital.

A joint statement issued after the meeting in Paris on February 28, 2006, Mr. Annan and the Cypriot President said 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”.

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

Meanwhile, Mr. Papadopoulos stressed that if the plan for a Cyprus settlement proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan returns, it will be rejected by a greater percentage of the Greek Cypriot community and its repercussions will be tragic for Cyprus.

Speaking to students of the Athens University Philosophy School, Mr. Papadopoulos also said that the Annan Plan did now allow the reunification of Cyprus and would have led to new adventures.

He noted that ''we are much better now'' and that ''the state will be maintained until a better solution is found.''

He added that Turkey does not want to breach the status quo on the island, pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side is ''pursuing negotiations and initiatives as well as a solution.''

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