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Cypriot Foreign Minister says government to meet with Bryza
2006-07-12 16:16:48

Nicosia, Jul 12 (CNA) - Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas pointed out today that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza is a department official and the government does not have a policy of not seeing officials who meet the Turkish Cypriot leader, which is why the government has accepted to meet with Bryza during his imminent visit to the island.

Lillikas said he would most probably not be meeting with Bryza himself because he will be in Brussels at the time, so either Bryza will be staying a while longer on the island or will be meeting with senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To a remark that Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will not be receiving Bryza, Lillikas said Bryza is a department official and it was not on the President's agenda to meet with him.

''I had expressed my intention to meet with Mr. Bryza. We had informed the American administration through the US Embassy in Cyprus. However, I understand that Mr. Bryza's meeting with me may not be feasible because we only yesterday found out that Mr. Bryza's visit will be on July 17 and 18, while earlier other dates had been mentioned,'' Lillikas said.

He explained that he would be in Brussels on those dates and that the government requested that either Bryza arrives earlier or delays his departure so that they could meet, otherwise the US official would be meeting with senior Ministry officials.

Asked if he would refuse to meet with Bryza if the US official met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the so-called presidency office in the Turkish occupied areas, Lillikas said this was not of importance because Bryza is a department official and not an official with a political appointment.

''All Ambassadors to Cyprus who are diplomats hold meetings with Mr. Talat. We have never had such a policy not to meet with department officials or government officials who meet with Mr. Talat,'' he added.

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