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Christofias and Talat Continue Direct Talks
2008-11-07 15:11:56

Nicosia, Nov 3 - The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met on Monday in the UN protected area, the latest round of direct negotiations to solve the Cyprus problem.

During their last meeting on October 22nd, the leaders continued their discussions on power-sharing and governance, and began a preliminary discussion on legislation.

In remarks on Saturday, President Christofias stated that he had no intention of walking out of the talks, noting that the Greek Cypriot side will insist on a solution because “this land belongs to both communities.”

In a statement to the press, after their three hour meeting, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun said that the two leaders will have two meetings again next week, on Tuesday November 11th and on Friday November 14th.

Asked whether there has been a narrowing of the gap on the executive, Mr. Zerihoun said he could not get into details, adding that, “Indeed they are dealing with these issues. There are many complicated issues you know better than I, and they are moving forward, I can assure you about that.”

Asked if the UN will have a more energetic role in case there is no progress by the end of the year, the UN diplomat responded that it was a bit too early.

“We are here at the request of the parties, we have offered the SG's good offices and we are flexible to the needs and desires of the parties,” Mr. Zerihoun said, adding that this is a decision the SG will have to make at any rate, “but we will help in any way they want us to help them.”

Mr. Zerihoun said the leaders stared today's meeting with a one hour tête-à-tête. They then took up their discussions on the federal executive and again instructed their representatives to continue the discussions in an effort to narrow remaining differences, he added.

Following that, he said, the leaders continued with a preliminary exchange of views on the legislature.

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