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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-04

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Cyprus government expressed the conviction that the anticipated substantial progress on the missing persons issue could possibly help efforts for talks on a technical level.

    The statement was made today by Deputy Minister to the President and Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis who noted that a meeting of the two leaders in Cyprus, with the arrival on the island of UN Undersecretary General for political affairs Imbrahim Gambari is not an end in itself and for it to be productive it would have to be scheduled and appropriately prepared.

    He said that Monday`s meeting between President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was surely a positive development which concerns solely the humanitarian issue of the missing.

    We express our satisfaction over this development, which, even with a delay of many years due to the Turkish sides unwillingness to cooperate, now creates credible hopes for a final solution of an issue which its abeyance prolongs the torturous agony of the relatives of the missing persons, the Spokesman noted.

    Our position is and remains that exhumations and identifications of remains should be accompanied by sufficient and convincing evidence concerning the fate of every missing person.

    We believe that yesterdays meeting, with the anticipated substantial progress on the issue of the missing persons, could possibly help efforts for talks on a technical level, the Spokesman underlined, adding that such a development would contribute not only to creating the necessary good climate but also to prepare the ground for the resumption of substantial negotiations for an overall Cyprus settlement.

    Invited to comment on reports that during his talks with President Papadopoulos, Talat accepted the view that an investigation into the fate of the missing should take place and that apart from the exhumations, all evidence on the course which every single missing person has taken should be presented, Pashiardis said that this was our firm view and also the view of the UN and I hope and believe that the Turkish side will adopt and respond to this position.

    Pashiardis also expressed the hope that Talat apart from verbal declarations will also respond practically.

    Asked to comment on reports that during the discussion on the technical committees issue there was a confirmation of the conflict on the issue between the two sides, Pashiardis said that what is valid is what was agreed in Paris.

    He said that if Talat is ready to proceed with what was agreed, this would be an encouraging development, and pointed out that if readiness is interpreted as readiness to discuss only everyday issues, then Mr. Talat is in conflict with the UN Secretary-Generals position who agreed to a simultaneous discussion on issues of substance.

    To a remark that the Turkish side claims that it has consented to the UN position, the Spokesman pointed out that the UN position is the one agreed with the President of the Republic during his meeting in Paris with the Secretary General and Talat should respond to this position.

    Invited to comment on Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas view that we are at point zero, Pashiardis replied that we are at point zero if we begin from the fact that at this point the Turkish side accepts the view that the technical committees should only examine everyday issues, while our side insists on the simultaneous discussion of issues of substance that concern Cyprus.

    To a question that during his stay on the island, Gambari might propose a meeting of the two sides, Pashiardis quoted President Papadopoulos comments yesterday that there is no dogmatic reason for not meeting Talat in Gambaris presence.

    You realize, however, that such a meeting cannot be an end in itself nor can it be pursued to create impressions, Pashiardis underlined, adding that if such a meeting is substantial and productive, it must be scheduled and appropriately prepared in order to secure some necessary preconditions to prove effective, otherwise it will be a meeting for the sake of meeting and not for the sake of substance.

    He reiterated that no such meeting has been scheduled.


    Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament, has welcomed Monday`s meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, to discuss the issue of missing persons in Cyprus.

    In a statement, Borrell expresses hope that this meeting will signal the start of the process for the resumption of dialogue between the island`s two communities.

    ``This first meeting between the two leaders since the rejection of the UN plan for reunification by the Greek Cypriot community, in April 2004, constitutes an important sign,`` the statement said.

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