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Embassy News

2003-01-10 12:57:30

London Greek and Turkish Cypriots rally together by Kyriakos Tsioupras London, Jan 10 (CNA) -- Cypriots living in Britain have decided to support Turkish Cypriots in their demand for a political settlement of the Cyprus question, as this is expressed through mass rallies in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

A seven-member bicommunal committee, comprising Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, was set up after a meeting of Greek Cypriots, members of the National Federation of Cyprus, and representatives of Turkish Cypriot organizations in Britain to develop further this cooperation.

The representatives met over a working dinner in London and stressed the need to contribute to moves and activities that promote the peace effort.|

Haris Sophoclides, president of the National Federation of Cypriots and committee member, has told CNA that Cypriots in Britain will not take the decision on a political settlement nor will they pretend to be doing so.

''However, when the Turkish Cypriots in occupied Cyprus have the courage to express their opposition to the views of the leader of their community (Rauf Denktash) and ask for support, we ought to think of ways to respond since we want a united Cyprus and a solution that works,'' he said.

Hasan Raif, president of the Turkish Cypriot progressive association and committee member, said that the meeting was ''important and successful''.

''Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have proved once more that they can work together for the good of their country and to support their compatriots in Cyprus,'' he added.

More than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots staged at the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, a mass rally in late December, demanding Denktash's resignation and a settlement on the basis of a UN proposal. A similar rally is planned for next week.

The rallies took place after the European Union decided to accept Cyprus as a full member in its ranks, with or without a political settlement, in May 2004. The Accession Treaty for Cyprus and the other nine acceding countries is to be signed in mid April this year.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.


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