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Substantive Negotiations for a Cyprus Solution Began Today
2008-09-11 12:12:11

Nicosia, Sep 11 - Direct negotiations aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem were held today between the leaders of the two communities, President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

The meeting took place at 10:00 am in the Nicosia airport area, which is in the UN-controlled buffer zone. The first item on the agenda was governance.

President Christofias pledged to do his utmost to reach a mutually agreed solution with the Turkish Cypriot community with the aim to reunify the island.

Present at the first substantive meeting between the leaders was Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on the Cyprus issue, Australian former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Cibor Wlodzimierz, Senior Adviser to Zerihoun and Timothy Alchin, political affairs officer.

President Christofias was accompanied by Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou, his aide Toumazos Tselepis, Head of the Turkish Bureau Nikos Moudouros and diplomat Menelaos Menelaou.

Addressing Sunday an event in the UK, organized by Turkish Cypriots who live in London, the Cypriot President said that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots must build together a better future for a new Cyprus, free from the influence of motherlands or protectors.

“As far as I am concerned, I will do my utmost for a mutually agreed solution, with emphasis on social justice, prosperity for the benefit of all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” President Christofias said.

The two leaders met September 3rd to ceremonially mark the start of the new process in the presence of UNSG Special Adviser Alexander Downer who said after today’s meeting, ''the leaders have been negotiating on the subject of governance'' and that ''the talks have been productive and the talks have been fruitful.''

The next meeting is scheduled for September 18.

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