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House President: we have to work for serious talks in 2008
2006-12-28 14:35:47

Nicosia, Dec 28 -- Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has said that in the year ahead the ground work for negotiations towards a Cyprus solution must be prepared to allow serious talks to take place in 2008.

He also said that at a short meeting last night in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia he talked briefly about the prospects of a solution with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mehmet Ali Talat. They had both attended a reception to mark the 36th anniversary of the Turkish Republican Party, which Mr. Talat has led for years.

“We have all come to the conclusion that, irrespective of what others may say, next year we have to create those conditions that would enable us to launch the final offensive to deal with the substance of the Cyprus problem and have serious talks in 2008,” he said.

He also said that elections in Turkey next year and later on in Cyprus would affect the peace effort and that is why there is talk of preparing the ground in 2007 and conduct “a very serious negotiation in 2008 with a view to reach a settlement.”

“I had a very human encounter with Talat, we have known each other for years and we talked about our health, our family ties which we need to warm up further, it was just an ordinary meeting that lasted about 15 minutes,” he said of his conversation with Talat.

Mr. Christofias, General Secretary of leftwing AKEL party, a government coalition partner which maintains good relations with RTP, crossed into the occupied areas last night, heading a party delegation to attend the reception.

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