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Turkish elections not a pretext for not negotiating Cyprus solution, says Government Spokesman
2007-01-04 12:55:30

Nicosia, Jan 3 - The Greek Cypriot side is willing to negotiate the solution of the Cyprus problem in 2007, Cyprus Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said before expressing the view that Turkey’s “traditional tactics to use Turkish elections as a pretext for avoiding any discussion on the Cyprus issue could raise doubts as to the possibility of the commencement of substantive negotiations in 2007”.

He also said: ''But these doubts, regardless how justified they are will not reduce our efforts to promote the implementation of the July 8th agreement in 2007.It is up to Turkey to prove that the elections in the country this year would not constitute an impediment for the success of these efforts.”

"He then stressed: “On our behalf, there is no problem at all, to negotiate in 2007 a solution of the Cyprus problem.”

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8, 2006, during a meeting in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari, 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.

Replying to Turkish-Cypriot recent statements that the United Nations could begin a negotiations process for a solution of the Cyprus problem in 2007, Mr. Pashiardes referred to the letter sent by UN Undersecretary for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari to both leaders on the island in which Gambari asks for a speed up of the procedure that was agreed on July 8th, and on the commencement of the work of the teams of experts and the technical committees during the first three months of 2007.

''So, you may consider it as certain and not just as an estimation, that the agreed procedure will be promoted”, Mr. Pashiardes also said, and then noted: ''the only thing that is not certain yet, is whether the Turkish side would contribute to the effectiveness of this procedure”.

The Spokesman also called on the Turkish-Cypriot side to a dialogue through the UN for the opening of the Ledra street, adding that, so far, the Turkish-Cypriots have not replied.

“The only thing the Turkish occupation regime has stated so far, is its readiness to demolish just the footbridge, but at the same time it is aware that by just demolishing the bridge it is not possible to gain our consent for the opening of the Ledra street”, he said.

Mr. Pashiardes also said that what really interests the Turkish side is not the opening of the Ledra street, but the creation of impressions and of a pretext in order to blame the Greek Cypriot side.

Last week, the Turkish-Cypriot leadership announced that it would demolish a footbridge, built illegally last year by the Turkish military in the northern end of the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, which halted efforts to open the Ledra street crossing point.

The Cyprus government called on the Turkish-Cypriot side, through the United Nations, to start a dialogue in order to discuss all issues relating to the opening of Ledra Street and the smooth and unimpeded movement of citizens from this particular crossing point.

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