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UN: Full-Fledged Talks For Greek/Turkish Cypriots

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders announce 'full-fledged' talks - UN

25 July 2008 - Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat today announced that they would meet for full-fledged talks under United Nations auspices on 3 September, in a move aimed at ending the long-running dispute in Cyprus.

"The aim of the full-fledged negotiations is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem, which will safeguard the fundamental and legitimate rights and interests of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Taye-Brook Zerihoun, said in a statement read out on behalf of the two leaders.

The two leaders said that the agreed solution arising from the talks would be put to separate, simultaneous referenda. They also announced that they had agreed to establish a secure hotline to facilitate direct contact between them.

Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat also commended the efforts of the working groups and technical committees which have been holding talks on a range of issues, and approved an additional 16 measures in the areas of the environment, cultural heritage, crisis management and crime.

They also welcomed the appointment of Alexander Downer as the Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus and said they looked forward to working with him and the UN team in the coming period.

In May the two men committed themselves in a statement to working towards "a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions."

The partnership will comprise a Federal Government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.

UNFICYP has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of intercommunal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.

In a related development, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today's agreement and commended the two leaders for the progress made so far. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban reiterated the full support of the United Nations for their efforts toward a mutually acceptable solution.


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