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Working Groups and Technical Committees Continue Their Work
2008-04-24 09:49:03

Nicosia, Apr 24 - The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot working groups and technical committees are continuing their work today at the UN-controlled Nicosia airport.

Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou stated that the agendas of the meetings are set by the leaders of the working groups and technical committees, based on the issues agreed on to be discussed.

Mr. Iacovou noted that after the first meetings on Monday, he met with three of the leaders of working groups who requested to see him, spoke on the phone with others, and received reports on the progress of the working groups and technical committees.

He added that the leaders contact him if they need guidance. ''What they need is clarifications, how to react to specific challenges from the other side and this is very natural in such an exchange of views,'' Mr. Iacovou pointed out.

Mr. Iacovou also commented on remarks by Ozdil Nami, adviser to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in an interview with daily newspaper ''Phileleftheros'' that the Turkish-Cypriot side aimed at negotiations based on the Annan plan, which had been rejected in 2004 by the Greek Cypriot community. The UN had said, prior to the referenda, that failure to have the plan approved by both communities will render it null and void.

He said former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos ''on 5 September 2007 had accepted the principle that Mr. Talat can bring to the negotiating table pieces of the Annan plan.''

''We cannot go back and we have made no effort to change this, because Mr. Talat said to President Christofias 'are you tougher than Papadopoulos and will not allow me to negotiate in this manner?' What is important is that it cannot be brought to the table as a document for negotiation because the plan does not exist,'' Mr. Iacovou added.

Asked if the Turkish Cypriot side could raise certain aspects of the Annan plan, Mr. Iacovou said ''it could and there may be aspects which we will not object to,'' adding that ''this document can simply not be a basis for negotiation.'' He said there was never any doubt that this was the intention of the Turkish side.

Mr. Iacovou is meeting today at Nicosia airport with the Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, followed by a meeting between Mr. Iacovou, Mr. Nami and Ms. Spehar at Ledra Palace in the buffer zone.

The working groups and technical committees have been set up, in the context of the March 21 agreement between President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

The leaders also decided to meet again in three months to review the work of the committees dealing with aspects of the Cyprus problem, the results of which will be used to start negotiations under UN auspices for a solution.

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