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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-02-13

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has said that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat had asked for the direct talks to be interrupted after the UN Secretary-Generals visit to the island, but afterwards reconsidered his stance as far as the continuation of the talks was concerned.

    Christofias made the statement in a reply letter to leader of the opposition Democratic Rally party, Nicos Anastasiades who asked to be informed about the Greek Cypriot sides stance on the continuation of the talks, following Ban Ki-moons January visit to Cyprus.

    Both Christofias and Anastasiades` letters were made public on Saturday by the Spokesman`s office, following consultation with the DISY leader.

    In his letter dated 12 February 2010, Anastasiades had said that after meetings with ambassadors of countries such as the US, Finland, Sweden and Denmark as well as the UN Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, he has ascertained a concern on the international communitys part as far as the negotiating process is concerned.

    Anastasiades said that bearing in mind Talats statement that he is ready to continue the intensive round of negotiations, I ascertain the danger that some will try to present our side as the one which is delaying and therefore undermine the prospects of the negotiation process.

    Calling on the President to inform him on Christofias intentions and decisions, Anastasiades further cited his partys position which was outlined at the last meeting of the National Council that the Greek Cypriot side should not view negatively the possibility of extending the intense negotiations provided that our side is outstandingly prepared and that the negotiations will extend to cover significant chapters including the issue of property, territory, security and settlers.

    In his reply dated 12 February 2010, President Christofias underlines that Mr. Talat has asked me to interrupt the dialogue after the Secretary-Generals visit, to concentrate on his pre-election campaign.

    Showing understanding, I agreed with him. At the last day of the intense negotiations, Mr. Talat came with a new request to continue the meetings after the 1st of February 2010 because he thought it would benefit him. I again agreed with Mr. Talat, President Christofias said.

    Noting that Talat explained to Ban why he was seeking a break in the negotiating dialogue and that later he reviewed his position, I responded and have already submitted to Mr. Talat and the UN four dates for all day meetings, President Christofias said.

    The President agrees with Anastasiades that the necessary preparation should be preceded and it is for this reason that he has asked the first meeting to be held on 24 February, the second on March 4th, the third on March 16 and the fourth on March 30.

    I must admit that with regret I ascertain an orchestrated effort on the part of specific sides to present our side as negative as far as continuing the talks is concerned, President Christofias underlined.

    He explains that I say specific sides because when I met the Ambassadors of the Five Permanent Members and explained to them how things are and our position, their unanimous positions were that they greatly appreciate the initiatives and, understanding and patience as far as the dialogue which is taking place or took place and which will continue.

    Referring to Anastasiades point where he talks about some who will try to present the Greek Cypriot side as the one which is delaying the process, President Christofias stressed: I want to be clear. Only maliciously can such charge be made against us. On the other hand, I want to make it clear that it is neither my responsibility as President and negotiator nor the responsibility of our side the possible election of Mr. Talat. I categorically reject even the slightest thought that we will be blamed for a possible failure on Mr. Talats part in the so called elections.

    President Christofias further repeated that no substantial progress has been achieved on various chapters during the negotiations, noting that our side is not at all responsible for this.

    The President also said: I want to make it clear that under no circumstances, as President of the Republic and as negotiator I will make unacceptable concessions to the Turkish Cypriot side and to Mr. Talat merely for his possible re-election.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks began in September 2008 with a view to finding a negotiated settlement to reunite the country.

    In January 2010, Christofias and Talat conducted two rounds of intensive talks that lasted seven days. They will meet again in the context of the talks on February 24.


    President of the Republic of Lebanon General Michel Sleiman was briefed on Saturday on Cyprus search and rescue capabilities on land and sea.

    The briefing was held during a ceremony at the Larnaca district Civil Defence Centre where the Lebanese President and his entourage were welcomed by Minister of Interior Neoklis Sylikiotis.

    President Sleiman was briefed on Cyprus search and rescue capabilities by the Civil Defence Centre and the Joint Coordination Centre and a film was presented which depicted the operations in which Cyprus Civil Defence took part in various countries as well as the common training of Lebanese and Cypriot Civil Defence members held in Larnaca.

    In statements, Sylikiotis said that during the last years, Cyprus has developed close relations with Lebanon. He said Sleiman has thanked Cyprus for the assistance it had provided during the 2006 Lebanese crisis and for Cyprus accepting thousands of Lebanese nationals and others who sought refuge to the island.

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