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Papadopoulos and Talat agree to begin bicommunal discussions
2006-07-08 12:16:14

Nicosia, Jul 8 (CNA) -- Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed here Saturday to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.


Click here to read the official UN press statement following the meeting

The decision, which is part of a set of principles agreed, was taken during a three-hour meeting the two leaders had in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari at the residence of UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller in the UN buffer zone.

The two leaders underlined their commitment to the unification of Cyprus, based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions.

They decided that the Technical Committees on issues that affect the day to day life of people will commence by the end of July provided that, at the same time, the two Leaders will also have exchanged a list of issues of substance and its contents to be studied by expert bi-communal working groups and finalized by the Leaders.

Papadopoulos and Talat agreed to meet further, from time to time as appropriate, to give directions to the expert bi-communal working groups as well as to review the work of the Technical Committees.

Gambari said the two leaders had very frank and very concerted discussions.

In the Set of Principles, the two leaders set out their ?commitment to the unification of Cyprus based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions?.

They recognize ?the fact that the status quo is unacceptable and that its prolongation would have negative consequences for the Turkish and Greek Cypriots? and pledged commitment ?to the proposition that a comprehensive settlement is both desirable and possible, and should not be further delayed?.

Furthermore, they agreed to ?begin a process immediately, involving bi-communal discussion of issues that affect the day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both of which will contribute to a comprehensive settlement?.

They expressed ?commitment to ensure that the 'right atmosphere' prevails for this process to be successful. In that connection, confidence building measures are essential, both in terms of improving the atmosphere and improving the life of all Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Also in that connection, an end must be put to the so-called 'blame game'."

The two leaders decided that ?the Technical Committees on issues that affect the day to day life of people will commence by the end of July provided that, at the same time, the two Leaders will also have exchanged a list of issues of substance and its contents to be studied by expert bi-communal working groups and finalized by the Leaders?.

In addition, Papadopoulos and Talat ?will meet further, from time to time as appropriate, to give directions to the expert bi-communal working groups as well as to review the work of the Technical Committees.''

President Papadopoulos was accompanied by Director of the President's Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis, Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Andreas Mavroyiannis and Director of the Cyprus problem division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Markoulli.

This was their third meeting during the past days. Papadopoulos and Talat met on July 3, to mark the assumption of duties by Christophe Girod as the third member of the Committee for Missing Persons (CMP), as well as last night when they attended a reception hosted by Moller in honour of Gambari.

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