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Cyprus President to Meet Leader of Turkish-Cypriot Community Tomorrow
2008-03-20 08:35:45

Nicosia, Mar 19 – Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed satisfaction that a meeting between the leaders of the two communities will take place on Friday, so soon after his election to the Presidency.

He also stressed that he will attend the meeting with good will and that he is ready for hard work.

At a press conference at the Presidential Palace, President Christofias said he will request from Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during their meeting on Friday, to implement a moratorium on statements.

Asked in which spirit he would be approaching the problems raised by Mr. Talat, President Christofias said he did not wish to go into details in public, adding that he would be conveying to the Turkish Cypriot leader the view that there should be a moratorium in public statements, which may be conceived as provocative to the other side.

Asked what would happen if Mr. Talat avoided the implementation of the 8 July 2006 Agreement, President Christofias said the two sides should honor their signatures otherwise there was no point in meeting.

President Christofias said problems could be overcome, adding that various issues would be raised during Friday's meeting. ''However, if there is good will and we honor that agreement, we will move forward,'' he noted.

Invited to comment on the role of the EU in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said the Union could play ''a significant and helpful role,'' noting that this was his plea to the European leaders and the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament he met in Brussels.

The President noted that the Cyprus problem would be solved at the UN and expressed hope that the Turkish leadership would show good will.

Referring to the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point in Nicosia, President Christofias said it would not result in immediate commercial activity but would ease the pain of division and would send out a message that the leaders of the two communities want to move forward.

''We want the common homeland of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to be truly united, under the roof of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, to restore all the human rights of every citizen of the united federal Republic of Cyprus, to put an end to any dependence from outside, either they are guarantor powers or motherlands,'' he said, adding that ''Cyprus needs to become at last a modern state.''

Replying to questions, President Christofias said he was ready to discuss with the leadership of Turkey but noted that the question was if the Turkish leadership was willing to talk with him.

Referring to developments in Turkey, President Christofias said he was saddened to hear that the Attorney General was sending the political party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Supreme Court with a proposal to ban the party. The President said Cyprus wanted democracy to prevail in Turkey, adding that ''we will welcome an even more democratic and modern Turkey.''

President Christofias also called on the people of Cyprus to give the government some time to make changes, since it has only been in power for 18 days.

''It is not possible for everything to be done at once in the socioeconomic sector, having in mind the problems faced by the world economy, and the everyday problems, and the Cyprus problem. My plea to the people is to give us some time,'' he concluded.

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