Meeting yields positive developments for Cyprus? reunification
Nicosia, Jul 13 - Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8 to begin a process of bicommunal talks on issues that affect the day to day life of the Cypriot people but, at the same time, those that concern substantive ones, both of which contribute to the Cyprus problem's comprehensive settlement.
Last Saturday's decision was taken during a three-hour meeting the two leaders had in Nicosia in the presence of the UN Undersecretary General's envoy Mr Ibrahim Gambari.
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 also 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. The list's contents should be reviewed by expert bi-communal working groups and finalized by the two leaders. President Papadopoulos has already submitted a comprehensive proposal for the establishment of two committees on Economic Integration and Population Determination. The Government of Cyprus has also proposed and is ready for the establishment of additional bi-communal committees that will tackle further problems arising from the division of the island.
"It is positive that the procedure to prepare for substantive talks has been decided and let us hope that this new opening will have a positive outcome'', President Tassos Papadopoulos stated after the meeting. Asked about Turkey's EU accession course in relation with developments in the Cyprus problem, the President said they were two separate issues, and pointed out that Ankara still had to meet its obligations towards the EU.
In a telephone conversation with President Papadopoulos, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed its satisfaction with the result of the meeting and congratulated both sides.
The agreement is the first positive result after the meeting in Paris last February between President Papadopoulos and the UN Secretary-General Annan, where they had expressed their common hope that these discussions would help restore trust between the two communities as well as prepare the ground for the resumption of the negotiating process the soonest possible.
Listed Below are the Set of Principles Agreed on July 8, 2006:
1. 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.
2. Recognition of the fact that the status quo is unacceptable and that its prolongation would have negative consequences for the Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
3. Commitment to the proposition that a comprehensive settlement is both desirable and possible, and should not be further delayed.
4. Agreement 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.
5. 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".
Joint Decision by the Two Leaders
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.
The two Leaders 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.