Cyprus Government wants any new effort on a settlement to lead to solution
Nicosia, Apr 6 -- Any effort on the Cyprus problem must aim at preparing peace talks that would lead to a solution, Government Spokesman George Lillikas said here today, adding that any country willing to contribute to this end would be welcomed.
Commenting on US intentions to help the start of discussions of everyday issues at bicommunal committees of everyday issues, Mr. Lillikas said that the agreement reached in Paris, during a meeting between the UN Secretary-General and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on February 28, was ''plain and clear.''
A joint statement issued after the hour-long meeting in Paris said that the leaders of both communities have agreed that bicommunal discussions on a series of issues will be undertaken at the technical level, adding 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.
Mr. Lillikas also said that the technical committees ''will discuss issues of substance, which will be included in any solution plan, so the talks would be appropriately prepared, something which the UN SG himself wishes, as he has repeatedly said.''
The Greek Cypriot side has no objection to discussions on other issues, he added.
''We are not pleased that one and a half months have elapsed and the process agreed in Paris has not been implemented. Unfortunately it takes two to start a dialogue. We hope that there will be a positive response from the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot sides so that we could start as soon as possible,'' he added.
Mr. Lillikas' reaction came days only after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said that the US is totally devoted to trying to find a Cyprus settlement.
Replying to a question before the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee by Representative Steven Rothman why the US has zeroed out funding the United Nations Peacekeeping force in Cyprus in the president’s 2007 budget, Rice also said “we have not provided funding for the peacekeeping force,” adding that “if it remains needed, we'll find a way to deal with its needs.”
Ms. Rice said she did not think anybody could misinterpret U.S. interest in Cyprus or a Cyprus settlement.