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Reunification Efforts In Cyprus Move Ahead - UN

Reunification efforts in Cyprus to move ahead this week, UN says

16 April 2008 - The drive to reunite the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus is set to take an important step forward this week with the start of substantive talks among new working groups, according to the United Nations mission on the Mediterranean island.

Representatives of the Greek Cypriot leader Demetrios Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have agreed on the agendas of six working groups and seven technical committees, and the heads of these bodies will kick off their work following a ceremony on Friday in the UN Protected Area in the capital Nicosia.

The leaders of the two sides decided on the creation of the groups and committees at a meeting on 21 March hosted by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Michael Møller.

Elizabeth Spehar, Acting Special Representative and head of the UN mission (UNFICYP), will preside over Friday's event, which will also be addressed by George Iacovou and Ozdil Nami, representatives of the heads of the two communities.

Yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council that he was optimistic that Cyprus could soon be reunified, but also cautioned that the upcoming negotiations between the two sides would not be easy.

"I think the entire world would be delighted to see Cyprus move forward on its negotiation," he told reporters after briefing the 15-member body. "We would like to see this settled as soon as possible."

Earlier this month, Mr. Pascoe visited the island, followed by stops in Athens and Ankara.

ENDS

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