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Cyprus President ready to meet Turkish Cypriot leader
2006-04-17 11:45:21

Larnaca, Apr 16 -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has repeated that he is ready to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat during the Committee of Missing Persons in Cyprus, first meeting under the presidency of its newly appointed third member, Mr. Christophe Girod.

Speaking upon his return on Sunday from India , where he paid an official visit, and asked when he will meet with Mr. Talat, Mr. Papadopoulos said that during his telephone conversation with the UN Secretary-General last January he said he was ''ready and willing to meet with Talat during the CMP's meeting to be held under the persidency of its third member, whose candidacy we had accepted from the very first moment.''

The UNFICYP announced Friday the appointment of Mr. Girod as the third member of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), who will assume his official duties in early June.

Mr. Papadopoulos also said that Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots gave their consent for Mr. Girod's appointment a week ago.

''Both leaders should attend the session, stating with their presence that they desire to speed up the work of the Committee,'' he added.

Replying to another question, Papadopoulos reiterated that the position agreed with the UN Secretary-General is that the talks for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem should be well-prepared, adding that the preparation of the talks will be achieved through the technical committees and through other ways.

He reiterated that these committees or committee, as it could be just one, will discuss both issues of substance as well as every-day issues.

Asked whether Talat is avoiding a meeting with him, Papadopoulos said he was not aware of such a thing, adding that ''no preparation of talks can take place with the absence of Turkish Cypriots.''

Invited to commend information that UN SG Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller is trying to convince the Turkish side to participate at the committees, Papadopoulos said that ''Moller is trying to implement those agreed in Paris, for which of course, the consent of the Turkish Cypriots is necessary.''

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